Experiment - Zechariah meets Gabriel: The impossible sum


You can use this as a fun science experiment about the story of the priest Zechariah meeting the angel Gabriel in the temple

Zechariah has added everything up, and he knows – he is too old to have a baby. But the angel has good news for him. God has heard his prayer, and even though he and his wife are very old, it’s going to happen! Zechariah can’t believe it. 

Can you believe it when you add it all up?

This idea is part of a complete Sunday school lesson on Zechariah meeting the angel Gabriel, as part of our series for advent and Christmas.

The Impossible Sum A cool science experiment about the Bible story of Zacharias in the temple


What do you do: 

Zechariah has added everything up, and he knows – he is too old to have a baby. But the angel has good news for him. God has heard his prayer, and even though he and his wife are very old, it’s going to happen!
Zechariah can’t believe it.
Can you believe it when you add it all up?

What do you need: 

- an empty A4 to cover the numbers up.
- a worksheet with The Impossible Sum that you can download here:


Download: The-impossible-Sum---a-fun-science-experiment.pdf

Ask the children to help you add up the following numbers. Show them the worksheet with all the numbers covered up except for the 1000. 

Slowly move the A4 down the worksheet as the children add up the numbers in turn. At the end you get to 4080 plus 20. Because the children have mostly been counting in 1000s , most children will answer 5000 (lots of adults do this too!). 

Ask the children – are you sure that the answer is 5000?
Show them the real answer: 4100.

Tell the children – today I have deceived your minds a bit. Because we were adding up thousands, our minds made the mistake of going straight from 4080 to 5000.

Do you think that Zechariah made a mistake? Perhaps by only thinking about how old he is and not believing what the angel said?

Tags: Object lessons, Experiments , Christmas , Children's moments in church, Advent , Zechariah & Elisabeth