Friday, May 28, 2021

INTEGRATE: Faith & Science Curriculum Supplement


The following is a sponsored post with BioLogos. All thoughts and opinions are mine. 

High school science has been weighing heavily on my mind. Why? Because I currently have two children in high school - one homeschooled and the other in a private school. The 9th grader is being homeschooled. And for his freshman year, we've been doing biology. I agonized for months over a curriculum because I just couldn't find one that fit us. I wish I'd known about INTEGRATE from BioLogos a year ago.

Before going further, I want to note here that MommyMaestra shares homeschool resources for families of all faiths. This particular faith/science program has a Christian perspective.

Quick Overview

Program: BioLogos INTEGRATE
Subject(s): The intersection of science and religion
Religious Perspective: Christian
Format: Digital Download  (Curriculum SUPPLEMENT)
Grades: 8th - 12th (some can work for 6th grade and up)
Language: English (but I have encouraged them to consider making it also available in Spanish)
Price: 29.99 per unit or 249.99 for all 15 units

I have used a variety of curricula over the years, both secular and from a Christian perspective. I've always been of the opinion that religion is taught at home and not in the classroom because it is such a deeply personal decision. 

And the reality is that all the curricula that I have seen try to force you to choose between scientific and religious beliefs. None seek to embrace both.

For those of you looking for a resource that helps you teach biology from both a scientific and Christian worldview, INTEGRATE may be what you are seeking.

A Curriculum Supplement

INTEGRATE is NOT a complete curriculum. Instead, it is designed to be used alongside a biology text, such as Miller & Levine, Campbell, Novare, or Apologia. Or you can use it as a standalone resource, an elective class, in my opinion, that may be described as Religious Studies and dives into how it is possible to believe in both science and God. 

The program has 15 units total. At the moment, only 5 are available. This is a NEW program, and the remaining 10 are being rolled out as each one is completed. The complete program is expected to be done by mid October.

Each unit explores a topic that is often a source of struggle for Christian families. BUT the program fosters a safe space for students to explore the nature of science, cell biology, genetics, evolution, ecology, and other topics through the lens of biblical faith. For example, it teaches the scientific consensus on the age of the Earth, evolution, and climate change, yet is sensitive to the fact that Christians differ in their opinions. The units are very well done both in terms of substance and organization. They are designed to ask hard questions for deep reflection and serious conversations between students and teachers. 

And most importantly, they may be used by anyone. You don't need a background in science or theology to use it. The lesson plans are laid out for you with all the resources.

The Layout

The units that I've seen are organized into a series of modules: 
  1. Meet highlights Christian scientists who work in fields related to the topic in question.
  2. Grow focuses on a Christian virtue and includes guided Scripture reading and reflection questions.
  3. Engage is an activity related to the intersection of science and faith
  4. Experience is a hands-on science-related activity
  5. Integrate is the final activity when you put it all together
Some of the units build on what was learned in previous ones. But you don't necessarily have to use them in order. Actually, you can pull whichever unit pairs well with your current science lessons.

In addition, you'll find that each unit begins with a unit summary, list of learning outcomes, estimated teaching time, scope and sequence, co-requisite science, alignment to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and unit vocabulary. And at the end of each one, there is a glossary of relevant terms, as well as access to the extensive INTEGRATE glossary.

And ALL the resources - lesson plan, video links, printable downloads - are included in the PDFs, which are between 35 and 50 pages long.

My favorite unit so far, is Unit 15: Biodiversity & Conservation. It delves into the question of where we stand on the topic of conserving the life on our planet. There's just so much goodness in this packet! And it provides the scripture verses that help us to look at the topic from God's point of view instead of society's.

What I think of it

I will straight up tell you that I love the program. We used Miller & Levine Biology with my homeschooled 9th grader this year because that's what my oldest had used her freshman year in private school and loved it. It's a secular curriculum. I wish that I had had INTEGRATE when we started. But I'm looking forward to using it this summer. 

Why? Because I love science. I study science to know God better. My faith is strengthened as I learn about creation. I see evidence of God over and over again when I study science. And I want to pass on this worldview to my children. 

I'm tired and frustrated of society telling me that I have to choose between God and science, because I don't. They aren't EITHER/OR. They are AND in my heart. One is perfect and the other isn't. That's okay. Because the whole point of science is to constantly learn and change with the discovery of new information. It leads to greater understanding. And it leads me to greater love as I marvel at the beauty and intricacy of life on this planet that has, without a doubt, a master designer.

And I love that INTEGRATE is a bridge helping us to study both and find the relationships between the two.

A special discount for MommyMaestra readers

BioLogos has kindly set up a discount code for MommyMaestra readers. Just enter the discount code: mommy40 to receive 40% off all units/bundles through July 15!

If you'd like to know more and/or see all the topics that are covered by this program, explore their website yourself!

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