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About Creation Lens: EWDG

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The materials on display here at the CreationLens website are the culmination of ITEST's
six year effort in faith/science education for Pre-K —Grade 8.  Our founder, Fr. Robert Brungs, SJ, saw the need to reach the youngest Christians with the message of compatibility between faith and science. ITEST undertook the project Exploring the World, Discovering God and built an ensemble of learning modules designed for the elementary grades. There is continuity between this work and what ITEST has always told the adult community: faith and science are two complementary pathways toward greater knowledge of God. They need not be kept separate. Moreover, it is in the primary and middle school grades where that affinity should be introduced and developed.

Our hope is that teachers in Catholic and Christian schools will make use of these learning modules to supplement existing curricula, where religion and science are commonly in completely separate compartments. As you peruse these modules, and consider how you might take advantage of them, feel free to download whatever you like.

After browsing through the site or teaching a lesson, you may click on the “Recommend” icon (shown above left) to let us know what you liked about the lesson on Facebook. Your comment may be brief or lengthy.  This information will be valuable to us in our assessment and evaluation of the program itself.

– Dr. Thomas P. Sheahen Director, ITEST
  – Cheryl Harness, Text Editor Grade 5 - 8

 

 


Creation Lens: Exploring the World, Discovering God, (EWDG) is the culmination of a six-year pilot program, that was the vision of Father Robert A. Brungs, SJ director of the Institute for Theological Encounter with Science and Technology (ITEST).

Exploring the World, Discovering God (EWDG) is a series of faith/science lessons available to teaching professionals. The project was largely funded by a grant from the Our Sunday Visitor Institute and developed by ITEST.

As part of the development process, an Advisory Council was established to set guidelines for the development of the lessons, to review the completed pilot lessons and finally to evaluate the entire set of lessons available on this web site to insure that only the highest standards of science, theology, and education are presented.

A Creative Teacher Think Tank was also established. Nominated by their principals and fellow teachers, this group of creative teachers met regularly on Saturday mornings to write and review the lessons. Additional Creative Teacher Tank sessions were held in Fall River, MA, Grand Rapids, MI, San Antonio, TX, and St. Louis, MO to write additional lessons for Pre-K to Grade 8

Faith/science lessons originally developed in phase one of the program for testing in the Pilot Schools were taught in Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Texas. The Pilot Schools included urban and suburban schools, traditional and home-schooling programs, and the population of the schools varied from seven students to 700 students. Representing phase two of the program for grade 5-8, selected lessons developed  in the Creative Teacher Think Tank, were taught during the 2010-2011 school year in the metropolitan Fall River, MA, Grand Rapids, MI and St. Louis, MO areas. 

More than 250 faith/science lessons are currently available for grades, Pre-Kindergarten through Grade Eight.  Each lesson calls for the teacher’s conscious interfacing of the scientific concept to the faith concept with the students. There are lessons for Life Science, Earth Science and Physical Science. There is also an introductory lesson for most grade levels called "Be a Scientist" highlighting one science skill. The teaching and application of science skills is built into each lesson. The Faith aspect of the lessons consists of both Christian and Catholic concepts and practices.

Phase Two of the program has been completed and a new set of modules (Catholic and Christian) for grade 5 – 8 have been pilot-tested, evaluated and approved.

Phase two of the lessons (5-8) contains a major difference compared to the lower grades: First, in grades 5-8, the science teacher and religion teacher are often two different people. Therefore, a coordinated effort is required which usually involves the school principal. The timing of content being covered in the religion class and that of the science class will probably need to be adjusted. Second, we found that the level of coverage of scientific topics varies greatly from district to district, school to school and grade to grade. Therefore, a lesson we have listed for 6th grade, for example, might, in some instances, be better taught in 5th grade to coincide with the curriculum for a specific district, school, and so on. we leave that up to the discretion of the teachers.

Of course the level of scientific capability expected of the students at this level  rises considerably above that of the primary grades; attention to data-taking, working together, and other aspects of scientific learning are utilized in these lessons, just as in a regular science class. What is exceptional about these EWDG lessons is the way in which a connection is established between a faith concept and a science concept.  Underlying our entire program is the premise that religion and science are not opposed, but are complementary paths to knowledge.

An individual teacher may find merit in a “mix and match” strategy.  Suppose  a religion topic within a particular EWDG module is covered at a different time; it may well be advantageous to merge portions of two or more modules into a lesson that better supports the existing school curriculum in both areas. The point of each module is to convey the compatibility of faith and science, not to belabor specific analogies.

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Creation Lens: Exploring the World, Discovering God
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