Discovering Math and Science Anew

Coming into Christian classical education 7 years ago, I was unsure how math and science fit in. I struggled for years trying to balance the need to teach math curriculum to prepare students for tests like the SAT while also allowing them time to wrestle with big ideas. After visiting the Scientific Revolution class at the Geneva School in 2019, I knew I could do more to foster wonder in my classroom. The students seemed actively engaged and genuinely interested in digging deeper into the ideas. My school, the Covenant School – Dallas, had a unique opportunity to introduce the Scientific Revolution course this year to 9 seniors who needed Physics and Pre-Calculus to graduate. This course has been a life-giving professional opportunity. It has changed my thoughts about how to incorporate math/science into the classical style of education. It forced me to reconsider how I teach all my math courses. The class combines math, science, history, and theology in a way that allows students to wonder and wrestle with key mathematical and scientific concepts. My students are experiencing these ideas for themselves, reading hard things like Galileo’s Third Day, and developing hard mathematical proofs. Join Ravi Jain and I to discover how a classical approach to math and science changed my paradigm for teaching. And let’s discuss the practical questions of how I did it and how you can too.

Heather Roberts

Heather Roberts graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a B.S. in Mathematics. She began teaching in 1999 in various public schools before joining the faculty of The Covenant School - Dallas in 2014, where she serves as the Mathematics Department Chair. She has taught a variety of subjects from Pre-Algebra to AP Statistics. This year, she began teaching the Scientific Revolution course developed by Ravi Jain at The Geneva School. She is married to Ritch and has three children, Libby, Chloe, and David. She enjoys spending time outdoors and watching her children play sports.

Ravi Jain

Ravi Jain graduated from Davidson College with a B.A. and interests in physics, ancient Greek, and international political economy. He worked at various churches, received an M.A. from Reformed Theological Seminary, and later earned a Graduate Certificate in Mathematics from the University of Central Florida. He coauthored “The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Christian Classical Education,” now translated into Chinese, and the forthcoming, “A New Natural Philosophy: Natural Science and Christian Pedagogy.” He began teaching Calculus and Physics at the Geneva School in 2003 where he has developed an integrated double period class called “The Scientific Revolution.” In that class students read primary sources like Galileo and Newton in order to recapitulate the narrative of discovery and explore its deeper meanings while preserving the mathematical and scientific rigor expected of a college level treatment. He also teaches AP Calculus BC, in which the students strive to discover and demonstrate the “most beautiful theorem in mathematics,” and AP Physics C where they encounter Faraday, Maxwell, and Einstein. He has given over 150 talks and workshops throughout America, Africa, and China on topics related to education, theology, mathematics, and science. He has served as a deacon in his church and is a founding Alcuin fellow. He enjoys spending time with his two boys, Judah,and Xavier, and his wife Kelley Anne.

A Survey of Oft-Neglected Factors in Scientific Inquiry and Instruction

Not surprisingly perhaps, many instructors at Christian schools teach in the way they were taught—whether at the high-school, undergraduate, or graduate level—and in many cases their teaching is thus tainted with scientism. Instruction at Christian schools, however, should be infused fully with a Christian worldview, key elements of which are sin, logical disciplinary scope, and creaturely finitude. Proper views of these worldview elements hold great promise not only as suppressants of scientism, but also as catalysts for truth pursuit and humility in the scientific enterprise.

Steve Mittwede

Steve Mittwede serves as Science Department Chair at Covenant Classical School in Fort Worth. His academic journey began at The College of William and Mary in Virginia (BS in Geology), took him south to the University of South Carolina (MS and PhD in Geology) and Columbia International University (MA in Intercultural Studies and EdS in Educational Leadership), and took on an international flair when he studied at the Evangelical Theological College of Wales--now Union School of Theology (MTh in Modern Evangelical Theology). Steve and his bride make their home on the westernmost edge of Fort Worth, but relish opportunities to spend time with four sons and their burgeoning families. He does research and publishes every chance he gets, and is especially passionate about faith-learning integration.

All Things Vile and Vicious: Seeing God’s Glory in the Horrors of Nature

We’ve all seen the pictures: hairy spider faces with hungry eyes. Long-toothed, translucent deep-sea monsters. Nightmarish creatures on land and sea. Poets, philosophers, and theologians have wrestled with hideous animals and shocking behavior in the animal kingdom. But are such aspects of creation suitable for children? As Christians studying God’s more unsettling works, we can be drawn into deep reflection about God, the world, and ourselves by observing the forms and behaviors of creatures in the animal kingdom. In this workshop we will discuss what some great minds have said about the disturbing animal kingdom. We will discuss topics of parasitism, fecundity, and predation, and what theological and pedagogical implications can be drawn.

Jeffrey Mays

Jeffrey works with a team of representatives at Classical Academic Press primarily advancing Novare Science curriculum. Besides helping schools and homeschoolers implement excellent science programs, Jeffrey is a writer and conference speaker. His degrees include a BS in Computer Science from Baylor University, M.Div from Covenant Theological Seminary, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Seattle Pacific University. He has been a pastor and a school teacher of science, history, math, Bible and apologetics in public and private schools. He is an avid reader and is interested in advocating the harmony and compatibility between science and Christian faith. Jeffrey lives in Austin Texas.

That’s How We Stroll: Learning From Theophrastus

Although his work was done in the ancient, “pre-scientific” era, teachers today have much to learn from the natural science of Theophrastus, who learned from Plato and Aristotle and produced 227 works ranging from science, mathematics, ethics, religion and philosophy. Many of these works are lost, and others survive only as fragments of the originals. From these ancient mines, precious pedagogical ore can be extracted. How can we improve our serve with regard to science pedagogy? Theophrastus wonderfully models the following: close observation, copious description, varied experimentation and careful classification. Moreover, he includes information regarding the known distribution and utilization of a wide variety of materials and plants. This workshop will survey his methodology with emphasis on the value of outdoor learning.

Steve Mittwede

Steve serves as the Chair of the Science Department at Covenant Classical School in Fort Worth, Texas. He has a bachelor's degree in geology from Th e College of William and Mary in Virginia; master's and doctoral degrees in geology from Th e University of South Carolina; a master's degree in intercultural studies and an educational specialist degree from Columbia International University; and a master's degree in modern evangelical theology from Union School of Theology in Wales. Steve and his bride live in Fort Worth, but relish opportunities to spend time with their four sons and their families. He publishes research every chance he gets, and is especially passionate about faith-learning integration.

What Are Science Labs For? Laboratory Work as Apprenticeship

It is all too easy to regard laboratory experiments as activities to hustle through and be done with so we can get back to the regular lessons. But if our classes are to serve our students the way they should, we should consider treating lab work as an apprenticeship in which skills are learned by watching a master (or journeyman), imitating him under his critical eye and practicing until the skill is mastered. From measurement techniques to apparatus assembly, if we treat our labs as apprenticeships that focus on transmission of skills, attitudes and ways of thinking, our students’ experience – and our relationships with them – will be transformed.

John Mays

After receiving his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Texas A&M University, John spent 14 years working in engineering before acquiring a master's degree in education from the University of Houston. Shortly aft er joining the faculty at Regents School of Austin, John completed his master's degree in liberal arts at St. Edward's University. John served as the Chair of the Math-Science Department until 2009, when he became Director of the Laser Optics Lab. He founded Novare Science & Math in 2009, and is the author of numerous science texts and teacher resources. Now working full-time as a writer, publisher and consultant, John continues to teach students part-time at Regents.

Two Great Scientific Discoveries of the 20th Century That Matter to All of Us (Part I)

By the end of the 19th century, atheism was gaining strength through Darwinian thought and a belief in a static universe. By the end of the 20th century, it was challenged by two observational discoveries that should be taught to those with the rhetorical skills to present this critical light to an unbelieving world. (Over 80% of those who disbelieve the Bible say science disproves it.) A key scientific practice is to
defer to the best possible explanation for what is observed. Evidence for 1) universal origins and 2) programmed biological informational systems both demand that a Designer/Fine-Tuner/Creator created all life. Gain confidence to teach and equip the next generation with apologetic science.

Mark Phillips

A graduate of Oxford University, Dr. Phillips has a mission to equip students with knowledge and application of scientific apologia, producing young men and women who know science without yielding to scientism. He became a believer while doing biomedical research at Vanderbilt University as an animal surgeon and analytical biochemist. He took a two year sabbatical from the lab for a comedy tour aft er winning a comedy contest hosted by Steve Martin. He has done educational missionary work in secondary schools and seminaries in the UK, Africa, India and Venezuela. An autobiography of his conversion to Christianity was published in all the commonwealth nations, and Dr. Phillips recently completed a three-part blog series for Th e Master's Seminary at

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.

Identifying Unknowns: Real Science for Logic Stage Students

Many teachers engaged in science education may recall that, when they themselves were students of high school chemistry, they were assigned the task of identifying an unknown solution. Such an assignment brilliantly thrusts the student into the heart of the scientific enterprise — namely, observation and experimentation. But why wait until so late in a student’s academic experience to introduce them to real science, especially when younger students are developmentally suited for such endeavors? Insofar as having students actually “do science” is a lofty, but altogether realistic goal of classical science education, why not get them started early in order to hone their skills of observation and experimentation? In this session, we’ll explore a three-stage “observation exercise” using unknown rock specimens that has proven to be a superb means of such honing among Logic-stage earth science students. Because the exercise is done in stages, the students move from having no knowledge to practical experimenting to identifying rock types of particular specimens. As they advance in stages from the unknown to the known, these students do real science.

Steve Mittwede

Steve Mittwede is the Science Department Chair at Covenant Classical School in Fort Worth, Texas. In 1981, he was graduated from “Their Majesties’ Royal College” (The College of William and Mary) with a bachelor’s degree in geology, after which he concurrently worked as a mineral resources geologist for the South Carolina Geological Survey and completed his master’s degree and doctorate in geology at the University of South Carolina. In the mid-80s, Steve also took classes in Bible, theology and missions at Columbia International University (CIU).In the midst of all of that, he married Dana, and they were blessed with four sons in close succession — all now grown, married and raising their own broods. The Mittwedes served in Turkey for 23 years, during which Steve was awarded a master’s degree in intercultural studies from CIU and a master’s degree in modern evangelical theology from Union School of Theology in Wales. Never one to weary of the academic setting, he more recently completed an education specialist degree at CIU. Steve and Dana make their home on the westernmost edge of lovely Fort Worth.

Metaphysics for Science Majors: How to Build a Conceptual Bridge from the Sciences to the Humanities

Without forethought, science class will unwittingly form reductionistic, materialistic assumptions about all of reality in the minds of students. These metaphysical assumptions are not from science and need to be removed before connecting with the humanities.

Robbie Andreasen

Robbie Andreasen has been teaching life science, biology and anatomy and physiology at The Geneva School since 2007.

Kevin Clark

Dr. Kevin Clark Serves as Academic Dean of The Geneva School, where he has been a member of the Rhetoric faculty for 14 years. Dr. Clark is a founding fellow of SCL's Alcuin Fellowship and speaks regularly at SCL and Alcuin retreats and conferences.

Metaphysics for Science Majors (LAB)

This workshop follows upon the material discussed in the prior seminar and is designed to help fellow science and humanities colleagues work together to create practices that will form a Christian metaphysic in their students.

Robbie Andreasen

Robbie Andreasen has been teaching life science, biology and anatomy and physiology at The Geneva School since 2007.

Kevin Clark

Dr. Kevin Clark Serves as Academic Dean of The Geneva School, where he has been a member of the Rhetoric faculty for 14 years. Dr. Clark is a founding fellow of SCL's Alcuin Fellowship and speaks regularly at SCL and Alcuin retreats and conferences.