More Than Just Facts: Liturgy, Logic and Literature in Middle School Science Curriculum

Our national culture is conflicted when it comes to science. Many see science as the final arbiter of truth, a discipline elevated almost to the level of deity. Others see science as the great deceiver and enemy of the Christian faith. Still others see science as too difficult to understand. How can we offer students a broader vision of the sciences as one – but not the only – valid and useful way of pursuing knowledge about general revelation? What are the logical implications of Newton’s Laws of Motion? How does plate tectonics tell students about the righteousness of God? What can The Rime of the Ancient Mariner show students about ocean currents? Or what can The Hobbit teach about forest biomes or volcanoes? How can we build a curriculum that engages not only the students’ minds, but also their imaginations and wills? Join us for a conversation on interdisciplinary integration in the middle school science curriculum.

James Dolas

Jim is in his fourth year of teaching Middle School at Heritage Preparatory School in Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to falling into teaching science and logic, he spent a decade working at a variety of soft ware engineering jobs before taking a few years “off ” as a full-time dad. He holds computer and electrical engineering degrees from Purdue University and Georgia Tech, but that doesn’t stop him from enjoying a rich reading diet of Tolkien, Lewis and the frequent epic poem. Jim started his teaching career with a class in earth science, but, because nature abhors a vacuum, he has branched out to cover life science, physical science and logic, as well.

Poetic Liturgy

This is a practice that we have used in our schools which uses poetry to consider a subject or a moment in the church calendar. It is a meditative and contemplative event where students prepare to read the poems (chosen according to their relevance and exploration of a subject or liturgical event) and meditations on the poems. They are often accompanied by musical interludes or paintings. We have discovered that employing literature in a manner that addresses its academic elements but leads us into worship is a type of embodied learning discussed in James Smith’s book “Desiring the Kingdom.” This is appropriate for all members of the school community: parents, board members, teachers, administrators. We encourage you to come and experience this liturgy with us and transplant it to your own school this year.

Christine Perrin

Christine Perrin has taught literature and creative writing at Johns Hopkins University, Messiah College, Gordon College’s Orvieto Program, through the Pennsylvania Arts Council to students of all ages, and at the local classical school where her husband was headmaster for a decade and where her children a ended K-12. She consults with classical schools in curriculum development and faculty development in poetry. She is a two time recipient of the PA Arts Council Artists Fellowship and a Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference Fellowship. Her own work appears in various journals including The New England Review, Image, TriQuarterly, Blackbird, and Christianity and Literature, The Cresset. “The Art of Poetry” a text book for middle to high school students was published in 2009 by Classical Academic Press. She attended Johns Hopkins as an undergraduate and the University of Maryland for graduate school. She keeps a blog at: h p://blog.classicalacademicpress.com/poetry

Jesse Hake

Raised in Taiwan by missionary parents, Jesse studied history at Geneva College (Beaver Falls, PA) and the University of St Andrews (Scotland) before marrying Elizabeth and taking his rst teaching job in Washington DC. Jesse has been teaching college and high school students for over nine years, with six of them at Covenant Christian Academy, a classical Christian school in Harrisburg, PA. At Covenant, Jesse has taught literature, rhetoric, theology and history as well as facilitating faculty development and overseeing upper school culture and discipline.