As we explore the faith-science relationship, part of the challenge is helping students see connections they did not suspect existed. Building a sense of how things are connected is a major part of learning. Making a leap in thinking to connect things we thought were different can be a powerful learning experience. FASTly activities look for ways to help students see various kinds of connections. For example, we want them to see:
- that doing science and caring for others can be connected through the ways we interact as we study, the ways we relate our learning to the wider community and the uses to which we put scientific understanding.
- that scientific disciplines and virtues can be connected as we exercise humility, honesty, and kindness during learning and in the practice of science.
- that the “sacred” and the “secular” are connected as we explore what faith has to do with daily workings in the science classroom and the big questions raised by modern science.
- that learning and life are connected as we consider how what is learned about science illuminates our choices and impacts our lifestyles outside the classroom.
Making these connections helps guard against reducing science to facts and learning information. It helps resist the temptation to reduce our understanding of the world to knowledge of material processes. Making connections offers a chance to glimpse the coherence of God’s world and how it hangs together as a whole with all the parts working together.
FASTly activities offer a variety of strategies for making connections. These include:
- having students investigate multiple perspectives on the same phenomena by, for example, comparing scientific and non-scientific accounts of the same scenario. Activity: Photo Scrapbook
- providing tasks that ask students to relate their science learning to choices outside the classroom, such as relating learning about sustainable chemistry to choices about waste disposal. Activity: Labs, Scarcity and Choices
- working to help students see connections across different curriculum areas by, for instance, having them consider in Bible class how the early church handled major disagreements and what that says to present day faith and science disputes. Activity: The Jerusalem Council
- asking students to sort collections of disparate information and reflect on what their decisions reveal about what they see as related and unrelated. Activity: Adam and Eve: Full Maturity or Child-like Innocence?
We invite you to explore the links and consider what further strategies you can use to help students see rich connections, instead of fragmentation, in their learning.