Communicating the Essentials: Developing science education curricula for today's Christian teacher
by Patricia L. Nason, Ph.D. *
One of the missions of the Institute for Creation Research is to equip Christian teachers with evidence of the accuracy and authority of Scripture. In this vein, ICR continues to develop materials for teachers that are up-to-date, accurate, and biblically-based.
A Teacher's Responsibility
Teachers mold the minds of their students, helping them construct knowledge and an understanding of the world around them. A teacher's influence on the belief system, as well as cognitions, of a student can affect the student for a lifetime. This principle is so important that the Bible tells us, "My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation" (James 3:1). In this case, "masters" (Greek didaskolos) means teachers, instructors. Dr. Henry Morris wrote in the footnotes of The New Defender's Study Bible:
The gift of teaching (1 Co 12:28) is from God and involves great responsibility. It is presumptuous for anyone to try to teach God's Word unless he has been called and prepared by God to do so in its truth and fullness. He must first believe in its absolute authority, be a diligent student of the Word (2 Ti 2:15) and be "apt to teach" (2 Ti 2:24-25).1
It behooves science teachers who are Christians to comprehend that they have greater accountability and more condemnation for the correctness of what they teach from the biblical perspective. Wrong teaching can lead believers--especially impressionable children and young adults--down the wrong path in their relationship with God.
The Need for Science Content Relating to Creation
The ever-growing problem with teaching science in the Christian school is: a) the lack of the students' content knowledge of scientific truths relating to creation, and b) evolutionary content knowledge and experiences that need to be challenged by the teacher. Teachers may not lack belief in the Word of God, but they often do not have adequate information or knowledge concerning the tenets of scientific and/or biblical creation. Science teacher training from an evolutionary perspective at public, as well as many Christian, universities, and the adoption of secular texts in Christian schools further ground science teachers in evolution.
In response to the need for content and instructional materials that support biblical creation, ICR researchers and faculty have created Science Education Essentials, a line of creation-based science education supplements for use by Christian teachers. These K-12 supplements are geared to reinforce a biblical worldview by presenting conceptual knowledge and comprehension of the science that supports creation. Covering all the major disciplines of science, Science Education Essentials are intended to help teachers approach science content and the Bible with ease.
Science Education Essentials
Each supplement of the Science Education Essentials line of curricula includes a Teacher's Manual or "content module" written at the high school reading and content level to give teachers the background knowledge necessary to impart the concepts of scientific creationism with confidence. Each content module is written and reviewed by ICR's science staff and other creation-minded scientists.
In addition, instructional materials provided on CD-ROM include activities at the primary, elementary, middle school, and high school levels prepared by specialists trained in curriculum and instruction. These K-12 instructional materials have been pilot tested by teachers and students for ease in following instructions, completeness of activities, and conceptual understanding.
Age-level appropriate lessons are designed to increase scientific knowledge and develop scientific reasoning and the use of process skills. Learning experiences promote inquiry--a key component of the work of scientists--in order to encourage higher level thinking and the use of problem-solving skills. Strategies include the use of the scientific method through real-world experiences, models, and/or simulations. Components that are addressed in each lesson are:
a) minds-on: cognitive attention to the content;
b) hands-on: utilizing physical senses to explore a concept; and
c) hearts-on: enthusiasm for science and doing science.2
Authentic assessments are utilized to evaluate student learning. Most importantly, biblical applications sustain the significance of the concepts being taught.
Both the Teacher's Manual and CD-ROM instructional materials have undergone thorough review by scientists for scientific accuracy and by theologians for biblical correctness.
Teaching the Science of Origins
The first Science Education Essentials supplement to be released is Origin of Life, which answers basic life questions:
- What is the origin of life?
- What are the physical and biblical definitions of life?
- Could there be "extra-terrestrial" life?
- Can life be created in the laboratory?
- Does biological evidence support the random cause and development of life, or must there have been an "intelligent designer" or Creator?
While these science education supplements are not designed to be stand-alone curricula, they do fulfill a vital role in Christian education, enhancing K-12 curriculum materials that are already being used in the science classroom. Because of the lack of scientifically-accurate and biblically-based science curricula, secular textbooks are slowly finding their way into Christian schools. In response, ICR is providing science teachers with essential supplements that help them teach the science of origins from a biblical worldview, one that is committed to the biblical accuracy of a six-day creation.
A Solid Grounding in Science and God's Word
The goal of each science supplement is to:
a) increase the teacher's understanding of and confidence in scientific creation and the truth of God's Word;
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear. (1 Peter 3:15)
b) provide teachers with a toolkit of activities and other instructional materials that build a foundation for their students in creation science apologetics;
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (Colossians 2:8)
c) encourage the use of the higher level thinking necessary to stand firm against the lies of evolution and humanism.
…that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight [trickery] of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ. (Ephesians 4:14-15)
Using ICR's supplements, teachers can instruct the future generation of scientists and individuals to examine the evidence for the truth of Scripture through an understanding of creation science. By using hands-on activities and relating scientific truth to the Bible, teachers/parents will be grounding their children in creation science truths so they can provide a logical response when challenged with science that is based on a philosophy that is in direct contradiction to Genesis 1-11.
As the leading creation science research organization, ICR is providing meaningful science educational material for classroom use. Our desire is that the materials renew minds, defend truth, and transform culture (Romans 12:1-2) for the glory of the Creator.
- Morris, H. M. 2006. The New Defender's Study Bible. Nashville, TN: World Publishing, Inc., 1926.
- Willson, F. 2002. Seeing the unseen through the seen: Learning and teaching science in God honoring ways. Santee, CA: ICR.
* Dr. Nason is Chair of the Department of Science Education.
Cite this article: Nason, P. 2009. Communicating the Essentials. Acts & Facts. 38 (8): 4-5.