Training Materials: Training Session 3: Introduction to Teaching FASTly
Training Session 3: Introduction to Teaching FASTly
: 75 Minutes
The teachFASTly resources are about making richer connections between faith and science in the classroom that move beyond a narrow focus on a few controversial issues. Sessions 1 and 2 focused on some key aspects of the thinking behind the teachFASTly resources. This session engages more directly with some of the activities included in the resources. This session is intended to help participants to think about the activities in relation to the larger approach they are meant to model. This leader guide includes the information needed to lead the session.
- Participants will practice navigating the teachFASTly resources.
- Participants will analyze an activity from the teachFASTly resources.
- Participants will understand how the teachFASTly activities relate to faith and to pedagogical strategies.
Preparing the Session
Before leading this session it is strongly recommended that you read at least the following brief pages from www.teachfastly.com:
The short articles in the Insights section of the site will broaden your understanding of the thinking behind the resources. The three articles linked above are a minimal starting point and explain the key concepts informing the site. Browse a selection of the FASTly teaching activities, noticing that different Activity Maps have different emphases and strategies, and avoid basing your sense of the site only on quick impressions.
You will need: the presentation slides in Introduction to teaching FASTly and a copy of Analyzing Activities for each group of three participants. You can also download a script and session outline to use with these activities. Participants will need internet access for this session. Be sure ahead of time that you are familiar with how to navigate on www.teachFASTly.com to all of the activities listed on Analyzing Activities.
If there is time, have participants investigate more than one teaching activity. You can also adapt and use this activity more than once at department meetings, adding time to discuss practical follow through.
: 40 Minutes
If you are using this as your first training activity, use slides 1 and 2 of Introduction to teaching FASTly to introduce the teachFASTly resources and make copies of What is Teaching FASTly available for participants. Explain that participants are going to learn about an approach to teaching faith and science that informs the resources available at www.teachfastly.com. Explain that this website is a Christian resource for high school science and Bible teachers.
If you already used the Introduction to Seeing FASTly session or the Introduction to Thinking FASTly with your group, you can begin with slide 3 of Introduction to teaching FASTly. Briefly review the idea of multiple connections between faith and science. The teachFASTly resources explore connections between faith and science teaching not only in terms of questions of truth, but also in connection with the virtues, motivations, practices, and social contexts of science. Explain that this is going to be an interactive session in which participants will explore particular activities from the teachFASTly resources with the goal of understanding how they relate to Christian faith and the teaching strategies they employ.
Show slides 4 and 5 or, preferably, use a live demonstration of the site at www.teachFASTly.com to show participants how to navigate from the teachFASTly homepage to a particular activity map using subject browsing. Familiarize participants with using the Activity Maps link and the Subjects filter to browse subjects, then clicking through to the activity map. Explain that activities are grouped in thematic maps, and within the maps they are grouped according to whether they are part of Discover, Delve, or Debrief.
Discover activities offer brief entry points into the topic designed to set the stage and get students thinking.
Delve activities promote more extended learning where the main substance of the lesson unfolds.
Debrief activities bring the process to a thoughtful close, helping students reflect on how they have been invited to see science and faith anew.
Organize participants into groups of three. If the numbers don’t work, some groups of two or four are fine. Hand out one copy of Analyzing Activities per group. The group task is explained on one side of this handout. Groups are to choose an activity, navigate to it on www.teachFASTly.com, and analyze how the activity relates to the categories on the other side of the handout. Groups are then to use the Strategies and Faith links on the activity page to investigate further how the activity was classified on the site and the thinking behind the categories. Use slide 6 to help people locate this. The instructions given to participants are:
- Read through the activity and decide which categories in each column on the other side of this handout it might best connect with. How are these connections evident in the design of the activity?
- Look at the “Strategies” and “Faith” links at the bottom right of the screen in the right hand navigation bar. Click on the plus sign next to each to see which categories the site authors associated with this activity.
- Click on at least two of the categories listed under “Strategies” and/or “Faith” and read the explanation provided. How does it connect to the design of the teaching activity?
Allow about 20 minutes, or enough time for the group to investigate in detail. Alert groups that they will be asked to report on what they have learned.
When groups have had enough time to investigate an activity, ask each group to combine with another group and report on what they learned about the activity they chose. They should describe the activity as well as what they learned about the connections it made between faith, science, and teaching. Allow 8-10 minutes for discussion.
Finally, draw the groups back together. Allow a few minutes for participants to report what they learned and which ideas seemed helpful. This will allow participants to hear a little about activities that they did not study. In closing, use slide 7 to emphasize that:
- These activities are just a small sample. Other activities will make connections in different ways, and you can choose activities that are helpful in your context.
- The activities are intended to be immediately useful, but also to model an approach that can inform your other work in the classroom.
- Using all of the site’s linking and navigation tools can help you gain not only some lesson plans, but a richer understanding of the ways faith, science, and teaching connect.