Upper school science cohort
About the cohort
Getting a job as a science teacher at a classical school – easy. Teaching science well so that students learn – a bit more challenging, but doable. Reconciling science and faith while covering all the topics in an AP course – even more challenging. Doing all the above, classically – completely overwhelming!
My first introduction to classical education was at a conference shortly after I was hired to teach Chemistry at Geneva. I was immediately hooked and felt like I had discovered the educational model I had always thought was possible but had never seen. At the end of the conference, I spoke up during a Q&A and asked where Chemistry fit into the classical model. The winsome rhetorician replied rather bluntly, “It doesn’t.” It’s not hyperbole for me to say that I have spent the last 18 years trying to prove him wrong. With that said, to fit Chemistry and other modern sciences into a classical, Christian curriculum, they must be reimagined and set into a historical and faithful context. They must be redeemed from their partnering with secular humanism. This cohort will explore how we as science educators in classical schools can set about that arduous task of reclaiming science as a gift from our Creator, clearly on display throughout the rich intellectual tradition we have inherited.
Meeting Time: 6:00-7:30 pm CST on Tuesday Evenings
Meeting Dates: 8/16, 9/13, 10/11, 11/15, 12/13, 1/10, 2/7, 3/11, 4/9
Meet Your Cohort Leader
- The first session will be about getting to know one another and learning what each member of the cohort brings to the table. What discipline do you teach? What do you do well? What do you struggle with? Lastly, we will begin to outline a vision for the ideal Christian Classical classroom and map out a plan to get there.
- Any rhetorician worth their NaCl (s) will start by defining their terms. In this session, we’ll dig deeply into the Shakespearean inquiry – “what’s in a name?” I think it matters.
- In addition to our thinking about what makes our classrooms classical, we must also keep at the forefront of our minds what makes our classrooms Christian. You have two eyes – one must always be on what makes this lesson Christian and the other on what makes it Classical.
- Aristotle, Ptolemy, Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, and Einstein. We’ll stay big picture and attempt to capture the shifts in Worldview (or paradigm shifts) that have occurred over the last two millennia. We’ll also attempt to capture the main questions that all scientific worldviews have in common – what is matter, what is motion, what is change, what causes change, and what is space. Did someone say four causes?
With sessions on the nature of science, classical science, Christian pedagogy, and the history of science to work with, we’ll begin to map out a plan of implementation for the Spring semester. We are scientists, we experiment, let’s redesign a unit. What do you want to try in your classroom next semester? An overview of 5E lesson planning and Next Generation Science Standards will be included.
- Who gets the privilege of determining what is true or how we even come to know if something is true? Are scientists the sole harbingers or truth? Theologians? Philosophers? Obviously, there’s a lot to unpack here but we need to have a firm understanding of what science can and cannot tell us if we are to make real progress.
- Empirical proof is at the heart of science but most labs are about as complicated and “scientific” as a recipe for chocolate chip cookies, and smell way worse. Further, extant educational literature provides little support for why we should do labs especially given the cost and expense. However, parents and administrators love the term “hands on” so what are we as teachers supposed to do? How can we offer a lab curriculum that honors what we value as Classical Christian educators?
- Far too often, we teach science as an accumulation of facts. What should be an entree into the fascinating world of inquiry instead comes off a lot like trivia. But fascinating things are happening that hardly ever get mentioned in our classrooms. Relativity, quantum mechanics, Schrodinger’s poor cat, cosmology, and CERN to name a few! Let’s spend some time getting up to speed on frontier expanding modern science and discuss how exposing our students to questions instead of answers can awaken their awe and wonder. This will also give us a chance to talk about emergence and reductionism which is always fun.
You knew we’d have to talk about it eventually. We’ll explore various ideas about creation and discuss how to teach these to our students.
upper school science cohort
SCL Member Schools receive 10% discount
Monthly Payment Options Available
Joining a cohort
Please reach out to Sarah Spencer at email@example.com