Saturday, January 14, 2012

Science and worldview

poll survey
According to the most recent national poll I could find on home schooling, the second most popular reason for teaching your children at home is the desire to provide religious or moral instruction.  The top reason, a concern about the school environment, has not been expounded upon so we don’t know if this refers to violence and an exposure to drugs or an anti-Christian bias in teaching and curriculum.  Since both answers scored over 80 percent, there is clearly some overlap.  Christian parents want their children to be educated in a Christian worldview.  God is not brought out of the box on Sunday mornings and then immediately wrapped back up and stored on the shelf for six days.  There’s no greater opportunity for including a Christian worldview is school than with this week’s Virtual Curriculum Fair topic--

 Exploring Our World: Social Studies and more Science. This theme can include history, geography, world cultures, worldview, biology, botany, geology, etc., etc., etc.

We’ve been using Apologia's Young Explorer series  “Exploring Creation with …” since the beginning.  Using “Creation” in the title and the fact that the program has been organized by days of creation leaves no doubt that the author will present the material with the assumption that God is the creator of all.  There's no checking your brain at the door here.  Students will get in depth studies in Astronomy, Botony, Zoology and Anatomy complete with hands-on activites and experiments. Chapters in the books often include sections entitled “Creation Confirmation"  designed to show how a Christian/creationist worldview can explain the marvels mysteries we see around us every day.  

I don't often post about our science activites (I guess I'm usually occupied with instructing and don't take pictures), but here are two posts about our Apologia work:  Week 3 Wrap Up and Paper Clip Solar System.

We’ve found a number of books and videos to complement our science curriculum as well.  The first is a series of three DVD’s called “Incredible Creatures the Defy Evolution.”  Dr. Jobe Martin had been a Professor of Dentistry and an evolutionist.  One day during a lecture on how fish scales had evolved into teeth, two of his students had the courage to stand up and challenged him to consider a creationist point of view.  Dr. Jobe set out to collect proof of his worldview and found that it too was an exercise in faith.  For more than 30 years he has been gathering evidence on specific attributes in animals that just can’t be explained by “goo to you by way of the zoo” thinking.

89110603_A62KqYal_327w2 Take the giraffe for example:  It takes a powerful heart to pump blood, against the force of gravity, up that long neck.  What happens though, when Mr. Giraffe bends over to get a drink of water?  Gravity working with that heart should cause his head to explode.  A dead giraffe cannot evolve.  But a creator can build a series of valves in the neck arteries (we only have valves in our veins) that will close when the giraffes head bends down preventing the powerful pumping from reaching the brain.  And when the giraffe stands tall again, perhaps because a lion is approaching the water hole?  He could pass out waiting for the valves to open and blood to course upward again—lunchtime for the lion, end of evolution for the giraffe.  God took care of that detail too, adding a sponge-like organ at the base of the brain.  It collects the last little pump of blood before the valves shut and when the giraffe lifts its head again the sponge squeezes that blood into the brain, lasting long enough till the blood starts flowing again.

The three volumes in this series cover a lot of the animals we learn about in the three Zoology texts from above: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day, Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day and Land Animals of the Sixth Day.   The DVD’s are divided into chapters so I could go directly to the creature we were studying.  Each segment is only 5-7 minutes long, but they made great chapter introductions (to entice students to want to learn more) or wrap ups on experiment days.  

Incredible Creatures that Defy Evolution Volume 1 – Bombardier Beetle, Giraffe, Woodpecker, Incubator Bird, Chicken Egg, Beaver, Platypus, Spider, Gecko, Chuckwalla Lizard, Human Body

Incredible Creatures that Defy Evolution Volume 2 –Whales, Golden Plover, Dragonfly, Hippopotamus, Glowworm, Bears, Earthworm, Elephant, Sparrow. 

Incredible Creatures the Defy Evolution Volume 3 – Lampsillis Mussel, Horse, Ostrich, Vestigial Organs, Hummingbird, Dog, Manatee, Butterfly, Cuttlefish, Penguin, Milopina 

The same company that brings us these DVD’s has a book series called Letting God Create Your Day.  We own the first 5 volumes but I believe there are eight now.  The text comes from transcripts of the radio program Creation Moments.  Each page is a devotion complete with Bible verse and prayer.  The subjects cover fascinating factoids of mostly science, but also anthropology, history, medicine and chemistry.  Trust me when I say you’ve never heard about these things in your public school science class.  Here’s an excerpt from “How to Freeze a Turtle”:

In mid-June painted turtles begin to lay their eggs. Each nest holds from seven to nine eggs. Some females will make two nests. The eggs are buried, safely out of sight of predators, and the mother turtle returns to her normal habitat. The young hatch in ten or eleven weeks. After hatching, they remain buried in teh ground, and therefore safe from predators, all winter. The problem is that turtles freeze solid at the temperatures found at nest depth in the winter. Ususally, when living cells freeze, the long, sharp ice crystals that form in them puncture the cell membrane, killing the cell.

As the baby turtles freeze, even the heart and brain eventually freeze. There is no breathing and no heartbeat. Only a tiny bit of electrical activity in the frozen brain reveals that life remains in the body. Why don't ice crystals rupture the cells? The young turtle's liver makes special proteins that are circulated to every cell in the body. These proteins ensure the formation of very small ice crystals that cannot puncture delicate cell walls.

Only God could have invented such a unique method of protecting tiny, painted turtles. 

You could read these devotionals before a family meal or to start your school day.  My only wish was that there was an index so I could find subjects that tied into our science lessons.  You might also consider using these books as source texts for Institute for Excellence in Writing assignments.  Mr. Pudewa recommends humorous, dangerous, or gross ideas to keep the interests of boys who'd rather build forts all day.  These passages fit the bill. 

Be sure to stop by these other blogs in the Vitual Curriculum Fair to read their takes on Exploring Our World: Social Studies and more Science.

Nature Study as Science by Christine @ Crunchy Country Catholic

Virtual Curriculum Fair Week 3- Social Studies and more Science by Leah Courtney @ The Courtney Six Homeschool Family

Curriculum Fair–Exploring Our World by Angie @ Petra School

Paths of Exploration by Jen @ Forever, For Always

Learning Geography at Our House by Jessica @ Modest Mama

The Fascinating World Around Us by Cindy Horton @ Fenced in Family

More Heart of Dakota Praises by Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun

Our History by Melissa @ Grace Christian Homeschool

Playful US Geography for First Grade by Pam @ Everyday Snapshots

Heart of Dakota-The Fine Details-Part 3 History by Lynn @ Ladybug Chronicles

Exploring Our World Through History & Science by Brenda Emmett @ Garden of Learning

Two History Must-haves by Letha @ justpitchingmytent

Learning About The World Around Us by Laura O from AK

Social Studies and Science - What do we do? by Joelle @ Homechooling for His Glory


Susan said...

It's always great to see how creation just dovetails nicely together. No chaos, but order.

Thank you for sharing your science studies with the Virtual Curriculum Fair. ;0)

Modest Mama said...

I have heard so many good things about this program. I may have to look closer at it for next year.

MissMOE said...

Great review. We have used several of the Exploring Creation books and loved them, but the other resources are all new to me. Thanks for sharing.

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