FASTLY - Faith & Science Teaching

Part 3: Big Questions


1. Questions


The goal for this lesson is to have students reflect on the roles of scientific and other types of inquiry.

The activity Here Kitty, Kitty is a good way to begin this topic. It explores scientific and non-scientific ways of seeing as possible parts of a complex whole, rather than their being at odds with one another. In this way, this activity prompts students to think about how different disciplines and different questions help us see the world in different ways.

After this activity, you could lead a discussion focused on whether students in the class identify more strongly with the arts and humanities or with STEM disciplines, making space for students to articulate:

  • What is it about their strongest or most appreciated disciplines that appeals to them?
  • What good are they glimpsing in that form of inquiry?
  • What might those with different preferences have to gain from listening to one another?

You could extend this theme by having students read more on the subject. Following are suggestions from which you might choose an appropriate excerpt for your class:

  • C. P. Snow’s famous and much-debated 1959 lecture “The Two Cultures” on science and the humanities and the difficulties the devotees of each have communicating well with one another. Based on the text, students could identify Snow’s own biases. There have been many reconsiderations of this lecture, including this one in The Telegraph and this New York Times book review.
  • A book such as Ruth Bancewicz’s God in the Lab, which connects scientific inquiry to beauty and creativity as well as to faith.

There are many possibilities apart from those suggested above. Texts that critically discuss the contributions of science to culture work well. Consider putting students into groups and assigning different texts to each group. Student groups can work through their texts and then report to the class.

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