Dive into human complexity at the embryonic and neurological level and learn to respond to claims that devalue human life.
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
Experience the wonders of the human body.
We’re constantly exposed to subtle cultural messages that reduce moral choices to evolutionary destiny, love and beauty to hormones and neurological conditioning, and worth to physical strength and productivity. How do we invite students to look at the full picture of embodied humanity, in its fragility and in its power, and appreciate the scope of God’s artistry?
- What can embryos and the brain teach us about human life?
- How does vulnerability nurture deep connections with God and others?
- How does a single cell turn into a baby?
- What is science revealing about the complexity of the brain?
- Are we more than the sum of our parts?
- How does the humanity of Jesus help us think about disability,
disease, and suffering?
- How might we better serve those who are physically vulnerable?
- What is our only comfort in life and death?
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What will students know or be able to do after this unit?
- Define vulnerability and discuss how being vulnerable with God and others deepens relationships.
- Create a model of the stages of human development from conception to blastocyst.
- Discuss aspects of human cognition that are different from those observed in other animals.
- Construct a model of a neuron.
- Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of using a machine metaphor to describe humans.
- Explain how Christian teachings give believers hope when they see and experience human suffering.
- Describe how discoveries in brain science can be applied to providing compassionate care to people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Modules Included in this Unit
7.1 Meet: Developmental Biologist Jeff Hardin
Dr. Hardin shares how he became interested in studying embryos and marvels at how God is present in the development of a baby.
7.2 Grow: Vulnerability
In this brief devotional, students reflect on how emotional vulnerability can nurture close and healthy relationships with God and others.
7.3 Experience: Beauty in Development
Students learn about the complexities of embryonic development by watching
several videos and creating a model of an early embryo out of Play-Doh.
7.4 Experience: Complexity in the Brain
Students learn how parts of the brain are used in everyday activities. Then they watch two videos about the unique and fascinating ways human brains function and how scientists study them. Finally, they make a model of a neuron
with edible materials.
7.5 Engage: More than Machines
Students work through a quote, short reading, and video clip to think about the accuracy and shortcomings of comparing humans to machines.
7.6 Engage: Suffering and the God Who Became Human
Students consider the reasons behind birth defects and reflect on how they understand God’s role in a world with suffering.
7.7 Engage: Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care
Students learn about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and how they can better serve vulnerable people who are affected by these conditions.
7.8 Integrate: Resurrection Hope
Students consider the challenges that come as human bodies and minds fail. After learning about how Alzheimer’s disease and dementia affects patients in the last module, they are now encouraged to reflect the Christian hope for a future resurrection. Suffering and death are not our final destiny.
The breadth and depth of the content are sophisticated; it brings out the complexities of these contemporary topics that our society, and especially the Church, need to wrestle with. Young minds who learn from this curriculum would undoubtedly be equipped to cultivate broadened and holistic perspectives about God’s world and His truth.
- Unit lesson plans (PDF download; 39 pages)
- User Introduction and Overview (Google Doc)
- 9 student handouts (Google Docs)
- 10 images for printing or projecting (JPEG)
- Integrate Glossary (Google Docs, 64 pages)
- NGSS Alignment (Google Doc)