Teachers and Parents, Come INTEGRATE With Us!

on October 15, 2020

Why INTEGRATE?

Secular culture and the church often tell the same story of conflict between science and Christian faith. Countless young people today receive the explicit or implicit message that they must choose between God and science. But this is a false choice, and it’s a damaging one.

The conflict narrative damages the church, because today’s Christian young people experience severe cognitive dissonance. They hear one thing on their favorite nature program, and something completely opposite at church. At BioLogos, we believe God’s word and God’s world can’t conflict. According to Barna’s 2018 Gen Z report, however, only 28% of all teens believe science and the Bible are complementary. Nearly half (49%) of churchgoing teens perceive that “the church seems to reject much of what science tells us about the world.”

Students with their hands raised in classroom

Why do so many Christian leaders tell our kids misleading or factually incorrect things about the world God has made? Why have scientists been vilified and stereotyped as atheists? And what kind of witness is this to the watching world? I don’t doubt these folks mean well, but the effects are devastating. We have witnessed a dramatic increase in the “nones” in recent years. Another Barna study found that about 1 in 4 young people who leave the church feel “Christianity is anti-science.” More than a third felt they couldn’t ask their most pressing questions in church.

The warfare myth also impoverishes the scientific community, because it contributes to severe underrepresentation of Christians in the sciences. According to a 2009 Pew study, 75% of Americans identified as Christian, compared to only 25% of scientists. This cultural mismatch leads to an erosion of the public understanding and trust of science and scientists. As we have seen in the current coronavirus pandemic, that can have deadly consequences.

As Christians, we should care about this underrepresentation also. We can’t be salt and light if we haven’t earned a seat at the table. It’s hard to influence research priorities and ethical decision making, or disrupt the anti-science, anti-intellectual stereotypes that the secular world has about us, if we aren’t in the room. While the reasons for underrepresentation of Christians in science are complex, at least part of the problem is that too many of us misunderstand and undervalue science.

But there’s hope! INTEGRATE can help you prepare your kids to be the leading scientists of tomorrow. We want Christian students to lean into hard questions with humility and curiosity. We want them to value both science and theology as important and complementary ways of knowing. And we want them to see science as a worthy Christian vocation. Add to that a desire for them to have informed, biblically-based perspectives on particular topics, such as ethics of genome editing, how creation and evolution can fit together, and why creation care matters, and you have a pretty good list of our overall objectives.

What makes INTEGRATE unique?

In the early years of BioLogos, we conducted focus groups with Christian school science teachers and homeschool parents. It became clear that they didn’t need a complete new science curriculum. What they wanted were vetted, high-quality resources to supplement their existing curricula, so that they could teach from a distinctly Christian perspective. Faith-learning integration is surprisingly hard to do well, and teachers are busy. It takes time to evaluate a potential resource and figure out how to connect it to your lesson in a meaningful way.

When we first envisioned INTEGRATE, we thought we’d simply package our favorite BioLogos articles and videos by topic and add some discussion questions. But soon we realized that many articles were too advanced for high schoolers, and students learn best through active learning. Furthermore, we realized that other educators and ministry partners had also produced lots of great resources that we wanted to highlight. So we compiled the best, created lots of brand-new content, and wrote complete student-centered lesson plans. Each unit is packed with engaging, hands-on activities that may be adapted for one student or a large class, active reflection on Scripture and Christian virtues, interviews with leading scientists and other Christian role models, and yes—dozens of links to high-quality resources from BioLogos and many other places around the web.

 

Each of the 15 units contains a series of 6-9 modules (110 modules in the complete collection!). The modules can be used in any order, but they are designed in sequence to develop understanding of particular concepts and ideas. Each unit has one or more of these 5 module types:

  • Meet: A short video introduction to a Christian role model in an academic field that relates to the unit’s topic. Discussion questions are provided to help students personally connect with the content of the video and get them thinking about some of the essential questions the unit will explore.
  • Grow: A devotional on a Christian virtue that includes guided Scripture reading and reflection questions. While the Grow module typically appears near the beginning of the unit, it could really be used at any point.
  • Engage: An activity that invites students to explore a topic related to the intersection of science and faith and respond in a meaningful way.
  • Experience: A hands-on activity that interacts with specific (often scientific) content that is important for students to understand and address from a Christian perspective.
  • Integrate: A final, reflection-based activity that invites the student to assess and apply what they have learned in the unit as a whole.

 

BioLogos INTEGRATE: Unit 6 (Cover)

As another bonus for busy teachers, each module includes clearly defined learning outcomes, estimated teaching time, and alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards. Most of the handouts are Google Docs that instructors can share with students and adapt with maximum convenience. The easy, open-and-go format makes INTEGRATE the perfect supplement to your existing science or Bible curriculum. It also works well as a stand-alone resource.

It Takes a Village

One of the greatest features of INTEGRATE, in my opinion, is that it really is the product of a huge community. I already mentioned that we leveraged the work of many others in the content. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t also draw attention to our curriculum development team. They’ve been an absolute dream to work with. Rarely have I encountered a group with such commitment to Christ, drive for excellence, complementary experience, and a collaborative spirit. True and long-lasting friendships have been forged these past three years.

Thirty expert reviewers offered suggestions and corrections that we incorporated in the final revision. Bible scholars, theologians, and pastors helped us make the content orthodox, broadly ecumenical, and pastorally sensitive to those with different viewpoints. Scientists ensured the scientific content is accurate, objective, and representative of the scientific consensus. Education researchers checked to make sure the activities are pedagogically effective.

Over two dozen educators participated in our pilot program over two academic years, and we have incorporated their feedback and the feedback of their students to make the final product as effective and user-friendly as possible.

Come and Join Us!

After all the listening, dreaming, planning, creating, and perfecting, we are thrilled to finally make INTEGRATE available. Check it out and see if you agree with these educators, Bible scholars, scientists, and other thought leaders that INTEGRATE is just what Christian parents and teachers have been waiting for.

We’d love to hear from you about your experience with INTEGRATE! Send us a note at integrate@biologos.org or share on the BioLogos Forum.

Last but not least, please share biologos.org/integrate (along with the promo code LAUNCH40) with your friends and social media followers today!


Kathryn Applegate
About the Author

Kathryn Applegate

Kathryn Applegate is Resources Editor at BioLogos. While working on her PhD in computational cell biology at The Scripps Research Institute (La Jolla, CA), she became passionate about building bridges between the church and the scientific community. In 2010, she joined the BioLogos staff where she has the privilege of writing, speaking, and working with a wide variety of scholars and educators to develop new science and faith resources. Kathryn co-edited with Jim Stump How I Changed My Mind About Evolution (InterVarsity Press, 2016). As Project Leader for BioLogos INTEGRATE, Kathryn is excited about the potential for BioLogos to equip parents and teachers to raise up the next generation of Christian students who approach science with wonder, curiosity, perseverance, and wisdom. Kathryn and her family enjoy exploring the beaches and state parks of Michigan and are helping to plant a new church in the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA) denomination.

So What Is BioLogos?

Well it all began with a scientist and a book. Francis Collins, the physician and geneticist who led the Human Genome Project, wrote the book, The Language of God. In it he describes his own journey from atheism to Christian faith, and the harmony between Christianity and science.

Today, BioLogos continues to carry out the vision of Collins, showing that you don’t have to choose between modern science and biblical faith.

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At BioLogos, “gracious dialogue” means demonstrating the grace of Christ as we dialogue together about the tough issues of science and faith.