Curriculum Corner with Mr. Schultz
In my curriculum corner article last year, I discussed the beauty of math. As the upper school science teacher, I have turned my attention to what it means to teach science classically. After only a year of teaching science in a classical school, this is certainly a question I continue to ask myself. I have been fortunate to attend lectures with a number of experts in the field, including, Ken Meyers, John Mays, and E. Christian Kopf and look forward to continuing my own learning!
The best place to start in thinking about what it means to teach science classically, is with God's Word: “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works” –Psalm 139:14. For me, to teach science classically means to first give credit where credit is due, and that means acknowledging the Creator of all.
I recall in a particular 5th/6th grade science class last year when we were discussing the human digestive system – from the food’s entry point at the mouth, down through the esophagus, stored in the stomach. The food that is left travels through the small intestine where nutrients are absorbed by the bloodstream, and so on. One student remarked, “Everything just seems to go together so … perfectly”. How can we observe human anatomy and not be in awe of the precision of it all. Indeed, we are fearfully and wonderfully made.
"The purpose of science is wonder,” states Martin Cothran, editor of Memoria Press. We are in awe of God's creation and as a result desire to know how His creation works.. In John Mays’ book, Teaching Science So That Students Learn Science, he declares, “Science is about introducing students to the wonder of the Creation and the joy of learning how it all fits together."
Earlier this year, students were able to hold liquid metal in their bare hands. Gallium is a metal (you’ll find it on the periodic table) that melts at 85.6º F. As the students delicately held this precious metal in the palm of their hand, the looks of amazement on their faces told the whole story. 5th/6th grade students also compared and contrasted the Ptolemaic System to Copernicus’s heliocentric system. According to the Greek scientist, Ptolemy, the planets revolved around earth. Copernicus declared that the sun is at the center and the planets, including earth, orbit the sun. Wonder about that for a moment: Why would God create a system in which the sun is at the center and not earth? And who’s at the center of your own life: you (earth) or God (sun)? We had some great class discussion on this topic.
What does it mean to teach science classically? First, we acknowledge the Creator and author of of all things. Then, along with our students, as we learn, we allow ourselves to be in awe of the beauty, order, and complexity of His creation. As a result of the awe and wonder we desire to learn more.
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