FASTLY - Faith & Science Teaching

Part 2: Models & Methods of Investigation


3. Investigations

Labs and Community

This lesson is different in format from the other lessons in this section. Its goal is to shift students’ focus to the role community plays in scientific inquiry.

Debrief and refocus: Consider beginning class with a brief discussion and review of the preceding investigations through the lens of community.

You can ask students what went well and what went poorly in previous labs and activities. You may need to intervene with some conflict management at points, but keeping the conversation on topic, not letting it devolve, and keeping it productive should help defuse issues:

  • Encourage students to connect this topic with virtue.
  • Have them contrast the concept of a scientist working in a team against the image of a scientist alone in a lab with a test tube, such as they might see in movies and television shows.
  • Explain to students that in real life, scientists often work in community, rather than by themselves.

Reading and discussion: Next, you might choose to read Galatians 5, especially noting vv. 22-24, and Colossians 3, especially noting v. 12, followed by a discussion of virtue in the lab. Students can refer to the List of Virtues handout that they were given earlier in the course.

New groups: Prior to beginning the next activities is a good time to shuffle the students’ groups. You can sort students into new groups, explaining that this will be an exercise in the virtues necessary for healthy teamwork.

Activity: Tower Building Teams gives students 18 minutes and a few simple materials to build the tallest tower they can. The focus is on evoking reflection on how collaboration is foundational for working well together in the lab. By contrast, learning science content is not the focus of this activity.

After the activity, ask groups to self-evaluate how they acted during the activity:

  • Which virtues were their strongest?
  • Which virtues were their weakest? Why?
  • What helped their group succeed?
  • What caused their group to struggle?

Journal prompt: Have students reflect on their experiences in class, especially as they relate to virtues in the midst of a lab community. The “Labs and Community” prompt from the Models and Methods Journal Prompts is a good jumping off point for this.

Debrief: Now that students have spent some time focused on and working with the theme of community, have them reflect on virtue.

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Next Topic:
Relationships (Third Lab)