Could there be a way forward, a way of exploring the intersection of faith and science that isn’t fearful but hopeful?
In early 2011, a group of high school teachers gathered in a backwoods lodge, talking about the challenges they faced as they tried to engage big questions about science and faith. Students came to them afraid of controversy; parents worried their teaching would present the wrong angle; administrators warned them not to “stir the pot.”
What does it look like, they wondered, to teach science well in a Christian context? How might they help students to trust that the Bible and science aren’t mutually exclusive? Could there be a way forward, a way of exploring the intersection of faith and science that wasn’t fearful but hopeful?
Out of this conversation—and many others like it—the FAST project was born. A broad team came together to create this resource that begins with the conviction that the classroom can be a powerful site for discipleship. Where faith and science are so often seen as a source of conflict, FAST creates a space in which teachers and students are invited to engage them as a fruitful opportunity to learn and grow. FAST explores hard questions with integrity, encouraging the very best teaching practices within the context of Christian faithfulness.
Led by The Kuyers Institute and The Colossian Forum, FAST is a collaborative endeavor, drawing on the expertise of high school teachers, scholars, writers, and web developers. It is made possible through the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.
This site already includes a large collection of teaching activities, training materials, background essays, book reviews, and more. Click here to start exploring. By the end of 2017, thanks to the committed work of our project team and the ongoing support of the John Templeton Foundation, the number of Activity Maps on the site will nearly double. Sign up here for updates as teachFASTly.com continues to expand.
Who We Are
The Kuyers Institute for Christian Teaching and Learning at Calvin College is devoted to the study and promotion of Christian teaching and learning. Addressing the needs of both students and practitioners at all levels of education, The Kuyers Institute focuses on the contributions of faith to the educational process. The Institute fosters research and professional development for more effective practice and deeper reflection on pedagogy.
The Colossian Forum is a Christian nonprofit dedicated to transforming divisive topics into opportunities for spiritual growth and witness. The Colossian Forum’s vision is to help Christian communities look Christian in the midst of conflict by inviting them to hold truth and love together through sacrifice. This work brings people together in contentious situations to participate in the truth of the gospel, providing hope that even in disagreement, “all things hold together in Christ” (Colossians 1:17).
This project was made possible through the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. The opinions expressed on this site are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the John Templeton Foundation.
David Smith earned his B.A. in Modern Languages (German and Russian) at Oxford University; a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from the University of Nottingham; an M.Phil. in Philosophy of Education/Philosophical Theology from the Institute for Christian Studies, Toronto; and a Ph.D. in Education with a specialism in Curriculum Studies from the University of London.
He is the Director of Graduate Studies in Education and Professor of Education, Calvin College; Director, Kuyers Institute for Christian Teaching and Learning, Calvin College; and Senior Editor of the International Journal of Christianity and Education.
David is a passionate listener to a wide variety of musical genres and occasionally reviews experimental electronic music. He enjoys gardening and reading outside of his work related fields.
His involvement in the FAST project came out of a desire to help give teachers more options, more resources, and more space to move in when it comes to teaching about faith and science. It has reinforced his sense of how difficult it is it to write curriculum for a diverse audience, and how important it is to explore beyond the familiar.
Michael Gulker earned B.A.s in both Philosophy and Theology from Calvin College and an M.Div. from Duke University. As President of The Colossian Forum, Michael helps Christian communities engage culture's most wicked problems as opportunities for discipleship and witness.
He enjoys running, reading and discussing books by people he disagrees with, playing whatever game his kids are excited about at the moment, and taking slow walks with his wife at sunset.
FAST has given Michael a deep appreciation for the work of high school teachers, their love for their students, and how desperately important it is to provide them with pedagogical tools that sustain them in their quest to deepen the faith and knowledge of those they seek to serve.
Lori Wilson earned her B.A. in Spanish Literature at The Colorado College and an M.A. in Theology from King's College, London. She works as a non-profit contractor providing services in facilitation, program design, and management.
She enjoys hiking in the Colorado mountains, baking, and reading, but her favorite activity is traveling with her family.
Lori says that working with the FAST team of gifted and creative educators has been a remarkable privilege that inspires a deeper appreciation for God’s amazing creation and the uniqueness of each person’s role within it. She was challenged to find a way to bring the FAST approach to the work that she does everyday, outside the classroom.
Nate Adema has a B.S. in Biology from Calvin College. He teaches Biology, Physiology, Media Discernment, and Advanced Algebra.
He enjoys playing music, softball, and basketball, as well as biking, camping, and reading.
The FAST project has shaped the worldview through which Nate looks at why and how he educates—not just new curriculum or new practices, but a rearrangement of the way he as a teacher thinks about teaching.
Erica Bolin earned a B.S. in Physics and a B.S. in Digital Arts & Sciences from the University of Florida. She is working on an M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction at Calvin College. She teaches Physics, Physical Science, Chemistry, and AP Calculus.
She loves spending time outdoors during either of Florida's two seasons (amazingly beautiful or sweltering), practicing hot yoga, contra dancing, and catching up on sleep.
The relationships that have developed out of the FAST project have given Erica a sense of support not only from her school and administration, but also by recognizing she is part of the broader body of Christ.
Kara Kits has a B.S. in Biology/Secondary Education and a Ph.D. in Science Education. She teaches Biology and Anatomy and Physiology.
She enjoys spending time with her family as well as reading, golfing, camping, hiking—and any time outdoors.
The FAST project helped her be intentional about incorporating faith into her teaching. She is intent to teach and help her students experience the insight that faith and science can work together.
Denae O’Neil did her undergraduate work in Chemistry at Wheaton College. She teaches 7th grade Earth Science and 8th grade Physical Science and tutors high school Chemistry.
She enjoys reading, hiking, and camping with her family, as well as making music and watching movies.
The FAST project has encouraged her to focus on the underlying virtues and practices she wants her students to exemplify in the classroom, and has enabled her to help her students not only learn about faith and science from the perspective of content, but to learn about how the practice of doing science increases and changes our faith.
Brian Polk has an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry, an M.A. in Organic Chemistry, and is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Educational Leadership. He teaches Chemistry and AP Chemistry.
He enjoys riding bicycles, or anything adventurous, especially if that means his family is all together.
The FAST project reminds him, as C.S. Lewis has said, that we don't teach "mere mortals." It has given him a framework for accomplishing truly meaningful work in the classroom, and has profoundly changed him both as a teacher and as a Christian.
Dan Ribera earned a B.S. in Industrial Arts Education, an M.A. in Ministerial Studies, and an Ed.D. in Education, Curriculum, and Pedagogy: the Integration of Faith and Learning. He teaches Philosophy of Education, Ethics, Church History, Apologetics, as well as Christian Perspectives on Teaching and Learning.
He enjoys music, hands-on projects around the house and in the garden, as well as cooking.
The FAST project helped him understand that the practice of Christian virtues, more than worldview understanding, is the highest form of faith integration.
Ben Tameling studied Religion and History for Secondary Education at Calvin College and recently completed an M.A. in Bible & Theology at Calvin Theological Seminary.
He teaches Old and New Testament Survey and Reformed Doctrine classes in secondary school.
Ben loves spending time with his family, enjoys reading, running, biking, movies, music, and is an avid U2 fan.
The FAST Project has inspired Ben to integrate authentic Christian practices into his classroom, and to teach in a way that fosters Christ-like virtues of faith, hope, and love, even as his students engage in discussing difficult contemporary topics together.
Dianne VanRooyen has a Bachelor of Education in English and History and Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. She teaches Bible and English.
She loves cooking and likes to try a new recipe every week. She volunteers at her church, spends time with her family, and goes camping in the summer. She recently discovered an unexpected gift for writing.
Being part of the FAST project has impacted her profoundly, especially the idea of seeing conflict not as something to be avoided, but as a gift: an opportunity to practice love, humility, and bearing with one another—and to grow in these virtues. When conflict is handled correctly, beautiful things happen.
Kristin Visser earned her B.S. in Secondary Math and Physics Education and her M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction at Calvin College. She currently teaches Physics but has also has taught Physical Science, Algebra, and Calculus.
She enjoys running as well as coaching cross country. She loves to be outdoors hiking, biking, kayaking, and camping with her family.
While she has always known that teaching is about much more than delivering science content, it is easy to get bogged down in the details and lose sight of the big picture. The FAST project helped her rediscover the big picture—specifically through being explicit about educating students in Christian virtues alongside science.
Mark Witwer has a B.A. in English with a Minor in General Science from Grace College, Winona Lake, IN; an M.A. in Secondary School Science from Villanova University; and is a doctoral candidate focusing on the relationship between Christianity and Science Education at Oxford Graduate School, Dayton, TN.
He has taught middle and high school Life, Earth, and Physical Sciences for thirty-seven years.
Mark enjoys exploring natural areas and photographing nature, especially reptiles and amphibians.
The FAST project made him aware that making meaningful connections between faith and learning includes not only what he teaches (content that reflects a Christian perspective), but also how he teaches (classroom practices that nurture spiritual formation).
DuWayne Worthington received his B.S. in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from the College of Idaho, and an M.S. in Zoology from the University of Hawaii. He teaches Honors Biology and Marine Biology, and has taught AP Biology, Chemistry, and Physical Science.
DuWayne loves to ski, play basketball, go on bird-watching hikes, travel with his family, and play golf. He has personally seen and identified over 500 birds from ten different countries, and is attempting to play every golf course in Colorado (170 courses).
The FAST project revolutionized the way he teaches by showing him how to properly convey the integral nature that faith plays in both Biology and Marine Biology. His students are learning that a life centered on Christ is a wonderful foundation for doing science well and informs ethical issues arising from science. Far from being divisive, he has found the world views presented by faith and science to be extremely complementary.
- Crystal Bruxvoort, Ph.D.
- Grace J. Kim
- James Jadrich, Ph.D.
- Steve Kline
- Courtney Lasater
- MercyAnn Ranjan
- Sara Sanchez Cardoza
- Andy Saur
Links to third party sites are provided only as a convenience, and do not imply endorsement by FAST or any affiliation with or endorsement by the owner of the linked site. FAST is not responsible for the content of any linked site or any consequences of making the link.
Unless otherwise indicated all Bible quotations are from the New English Translation of the Bible, (NET) ® copyright ©1996-2016 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C.), and all quotations from the Apocrypha or Deuterocanonical Books are from the New Revised Standard Bible with Apocrypha (NRSV) copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
We’re excited to share these activities at no cost to you. We’re also excited to imagine all the creative ways you might put them to use – please feel free to adapt them for your classroom, and use them as often as you’d like. If you do choose to share them (and we hope you will!) we simply ask that you pass them along in their original form, encouraging your colleagues to draw on their own creativity in adapting the activities for their own context. To preserve the integrity of the materials, we’ve chosen to apply the following license to teachFASTly.com:
TeachFASTly by The FAST project is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.