Hawaii Canada California California California Texas Texas Texas

A Classical Conversation

Join the conversation! An eclectic group of folks have joined in to carry out the classical conversation; some of these folks may share or represent views we don't hold. We need them to be dialectic and have a classical conversation, and they need us too! So thanks for being patient with us and our fellow participants.

Subscribe to feed Viewing entries tagged Science
This tag contains 6 blog entries contributed to a teamblog which isn't listed here.

Should We Teach Students that Science Studies Only Material Causes?

Posted by Jonathan Bartlett
Jonathan Bartlett
Jonathan Bartlett is the director of The Blyth Institute, a nonprofit organizati
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 08 April 2014
in Articles

In my previous article discussing Phillip Johnson and Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds, I made a strong case for why a Christian should reject materialism in very strong terms. One issue, however, that is often brought forward regarding science is the question of methodological materialism (also called methodological naturalism)—the idea that we can, as a purely methodological concern, presume the truth of materialism for conducting science. This would be different from philosophical materialism (also called philosophical naturalism), which states that all of reality is materialistic. This is an important issue for students, as understanding in detail the problem with methodological materialism will help them recognize some of the subtler forms of secularism when they emerge.

A Model for a Classical Conversation

Posted by Courtney Sanford
Courtney Sanford
Courtney Sanford has been home schooling with Classical Conversations since 2005
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 23 October 2013
in Articles

 

The guide for today’s science seminar in Challenge I said, “Discuss Module 4.” Previous discussions with this class had been a bit boring, so I decided I needed a new model for discussions. I did not plan any questions or make an agenda about what they needed to know. I went in with one idea in my mind: the topic wheel.

 

The students had spent two weeks studying a chapter on water in the physical science textbook. They had completed labs, written lab reports, and answered study questions.

 

I drew a topic wheel on the whiteboard. A topic wheel is simply one circle in the center and seven more circles surrounding it. I wrote “water” in the center circle. The seven other circles are intended for other subjects. The idea is to provoke thought by having the group brainstorm about what different subjects have in common with the central item. (This would be the topic of comparison if you are familiar with the five common topics.)

It's All about Value!

Posted by Kate Deddens
Kate Deddens
Kate was born overseas, attending International Baccalaureate schools in Iran, I
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 01 August 2013
in Articles

 

Did you know that math is about more than numerical values arranged in symbolic sentences? It has great value in itself for practical application, of course, but it has much merit as well in the general skills and virtues that its study encourages.

 

Recently, I have been reading a book by Ron Aharoni called Arithmetic for Parents. In it, he claims that:

 

[M]athematics is important not only for understanding reality. It offers much more than that—it teaches abstract thought, in an accurate and orderly way. It promotes basic habits of thought, such as the ability to distinguish between the essential and the inessential, and the ability to reach logical conclusions.1

 

There is a great deal of value being asserted about mathematics in this quote, and it is worth the time to examine it for the treasures it contains.

The Many Lessons of Chemistry in Classical Education

Posted by Jonathan Bartlett
Jonathan Bartlett
Jonathan Bartlett is the director of The Blyth Institute, a nonprofit organizati
User is currently offline
on Monday, 08 July 2013
in Articles

I find that I am better able to learn topics when I can connect them to something I already love or already understand. When I learned biology in high school, I was bored out of my mind. Later in life, I have realized that biology is God's engineering on display! This realization has caused me to take a much keener interest in biology in my later years.

 

Chemistry has the same effect on many people. If one is not already planning on being a chemist, chemistry seems an incredible waste of time. However, there are some key lessons lurking in chemistry that I think will help students take a deeper interest in it, as well as pull deeper meaning out of it.

Why We Love the Patterns

Posted by Jennifer Greenholt
Jennifer Greenholt
Jen Greenholt was an early participant in the Classical Conversations Challenge
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 17 April 2013
in Articles

 

Cultural theorist Marshall McLuhan wrote in his 1964 book Understanding Media, “The mark of our time is its revulsion against imposed patterns.” I think it is fair to say that mainstream education today shares some of that revulsion. This generation likes to color outside the lines, sometimes without even acknowledging that the original lines exist.

 

“Why write poetry that rhymes?” we ask. Why perform a five-act play that follows the unities of time, place, and action? Why learn the sequence of Fibonacci numbers or Pascal’s triangle in math? Why sketch examples of symmetry in science, or study the tides, the ocean currents, or the orbit of the planets? Why practice thirds and fifths in music before pursuing innovative harmonies?

 

0 votes

One-Room Schoolhouse Math: Ideas for the Challenge Math Seminar

Posted by Jennifer Courtney
Jennifer Courtney
Jennifer Courtney has been home educating since 2004. In addition, she serves as
User is currently offline
on Monday, 15 April 2013
in Articles

 

It has been said that scientists and mathematicians comprise a new priesthood. Our leaders, educators, and policy analysts are consumed with statistics for STEM (science and technology). How are our students doing in these critical subjects? The pressure to succeed in these areas causes us to make some critical errors. We focus too much on earning a credit instead of having students who spend enough time on the material to truly know it and, in turn, to love it. We put an “x” in the check box and move on before the children are ready. Secondly, we forget why we should pursue these subjects in the first place. As classical, Christian tutors and families, we want to turn the conversation so that we pursue these ideas because they lead us to a deeper understanding of who God is and how He has marvelously designed our world.

 

One of these errors was replicated in my own education. I made an A in AP Calculus my senior year in high school and was able to earn my college math credits before I set foot on the university campus, but this in no way signifies that I understood calculus. As my husband and I have discussed several times, we wish we had understood what we were doing. Instead of learning to memorize and apply formulas, I wish I had understood the amazing applications of calculus. I am excited for the opportunity to do it all over again. This time, I might just understand it!

 

I recently went with my daughters to an 1889 one-room schoolhouse. We spent the day precisely following the script of a school day in 1889. This was most illuminating for the families in my Classical Conversations community as we constantly juggle students of different ages. (It was equally delightful for the teacher, who is used to public school students. She was so happy to have an authentic day with children from ages six to thirteen).


0 votes

The Mathematical Difference between Wisdom and Science

Posted by Jonathan Bartlett
Jonathan Bartlett
Jonathan Bartlett is the director of The Blyth Institute, a nonprofit organizati
User is currently offline
on Monday, 18 March 2013
in Articles

One of the disturbing trends of the modern era is the blind delegation of all reality-focused ideas to science. The presumption is that if something is real—if one can taste it, touch it, or smell it—then science is the best approach to dealing with that subject. This is the approach taken in most academic journals, and the reason for even traditionally humanities-oriented subjects being treated almost entirely in scientific terms and categories. The ostensible purpose of this is to render our ideas closer to reality. The thought is that by making a subject more scientific, we can make it more precise and predictable, and therefore, more real.

 

There are many problems with this approach. One of the most obvious problems, which I will not deal with at length here, is that this approach cuts off a large part of human thought processes. If humans experience the world in deeper terms than those available to the sciences, it makes sense that serious and rigorous studies of the world should take these deeper ideas into account. If they are not taken into account, we cut ourselves off from a large part of the real world. Rigorous study should expand our ability to reason, not contract it.

 

0 votes

Did the Science Department Get the Memo?

Posted by Admin
Admin
Admin has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 07 February 2013
in Articles

A great benefit of speaking and hosting an exhibit at homeschool conventions is the opportunity which such an event presents to hear, firsthand, homeschool families share their experiences with Christian higher education. Many of these stories are inspiring and informative, but every once in a while you hear one that makes you cringe.

 

Such a story was relayed to me by a mother and daughter about the daughter’s first semester at a well-regarded Christian university. This young woman was attending the university for the purpose of achieving a nursing degree. Such a degree obviously requires biology classes. While taking her first biology class the students were asked by their professor to raise their hands if they “had a problem” with evolution. As you might expect at a Christian university, most of the students raised their hands. The professor then warned the students whose arms were extended that if they still believed thusly at the end of the semester, they would fail his course.

0 votes

Why Study Calculus?

Posted by Jonathan Bartlett
Jonathan Bartlett
Jonathan Bartlett is the director of The Blyth Institute, a nonprofit organizati
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 05 February 2013
in Articles

Many people loathe the idea of calculus. Even the name sounds tedious and difficult. Most people who have to take calculus in college will not use it on a daily basis. So why is calculus an important part of education?

 

One of the goals of classical education is to make sure that students have all of the tools needed to learn anything. There should not be any aspect of human knowledge with which students fear to engage. With this in mind, remember that many modern aspects of the sciences are based on calculus. If we allow calculus to be for "other people," then we cut ourselves off from a large and very important part of human knowledge. Because most of the modern sciences are based on calculus in some way, knowing calculus moves us from being positioned as outsiders (people who lack the tools to engage) to being positioned as insiders (people who have acquired the skills to engage) with respect to  innumerable subjects.

 

Once students learn calculus, they do not, of course, automatically know everything there is to know about the sciences. Nonetheless, their knowledge of calculus does provide students with a significant basis for understanding the sciences, should they wish to do so. Calculus opens the door for further study.

 

Top Four Things You Can Learn from the Science Fair

Posted by Jennifer Courtney
Jennifer Courtney
Jennifer Courtney has been home educating since 2004. In addition, she serves as
User is currently offline
on Monday, 21 January 2013
in Articles

Image this: an episode of “The Twilight Zone.” The main character: a parent who did a horrible job on her junior high science fair project. [Fast-forward to the present day.] The plot: the parent is now trapped in an endless cycle of producing science fair projects until she finally gets it right.

 

In all seriousness, I must confess that I approached the Challenge B science fair project with a mixture of fear and dread. By the time I reached my son’s age, it had already been decided that I was a literature and languages person, not a science person. Even though I found science texts interesting and I made good grades, by age thirteen, I already wholeheartedly believed in the airtight categories of science people, math people, English people, art people, and so on. Therefore, I did not try very hard to come up with a great project; after all, no one expected me to—not even me.

I was determined that my son would have a completely different science fair experience. I just was not sure that I was equipped to give it to him. Still, I started off by expecting great things of both of us. I am happy to report that he completed his project successfully and that we both learned a lot along the way. If you are at all like me, there are certain homeschool experiences that you fear and dread and maybe even avoid altogether. I hope our experience will encourage you to branch out of your comfort zone.

 

Before the Great Conversation

Posted by Admin
Admin
Admin has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Monday, 22 October 2012
in Articles

 

I am by vocation a professional theologian, at least by classical definitions. By more modern terms, I am more precisely a biblical scholar, which actually should be the only route to becoming a theologian. At any rate, my primary responsibilities at Community Christian College are to teach the Bible and Christian thought and worldview classes to college freshmen and sophomores.  This is not all I do, however; I also teach art history and appreciation, speech, philosophy, physical education, and literature. There is a possibility that I will also teach sociology next quarter. Yes, not only am I able to enter the “Great Conversation,” but my very job demands it. My doctoral degree in literature, theology, and the arts allows me the freedom to teach beyond my theological expertise, depending upon my interest or depending upon my employer’s vacancies. Furthermore, this is the reason I have been providentially placed here—I needed them and they needed me.  

 

Community Christian College is a small Christian community college (hence the very generic but perfectly descriptive name), whose primary mission is to educate those who may struggle in a four-year college environment if they were to go straight into Bachelor degree programs. Due to its small size, I am the only full time faculty member, with numerous other well qualified adjunct professors. At larger Christian universities, a theology and/or Bible and/or religion professor such as myself would be hired for a particular expertise in such subdisciplines as Old Testament, New Testament, Systematic Theology, Practical and Pastoral Theology, Christian Counseling, Hermeneutics, Homiletics, Biblical Languages, and so on. In my situation, I have to cross many of these boundaries; my colleagues in larger universities do not. I would have it no other way. I get to teach both Old and New Testaments, Christian Thought and Worldview, and use my other theological training to input wherever possible. I love being an interdisciplinarian. It has been surprising to me, as we search for some other Bible adjuncts for our other campuses, how easily we find New Testament professors and how rare it is to find Old Testament professors.


0 votes

Homeschooling for a Nation

Posted by Admin
Admin
Admin has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 17 October 2012
in Articles

 

Judgment: God’s purview. He will inevitably judge all individuals at the end of time. Historically, He has also passed judgment on nations here on this corporeal earth. How has He done this? In some cases, He used His divine power to squash them—for example when King Ahab angered God, He caused the rain and the dew to cease in Israel for three and a half years (1 Kings 17-18). In some cases, He used other nations—recall that Israel was overrun by Assyria and the Babylonians overran Judah. In some cases, He used the surrounding culture to influence and engulf His people which brought destruction from within; He gave them over to their wicked ways (Romans 1:28).

 

Are we so arrogant to think that we, as a nation, are exempt from God’s judgment on earth? According to apologist James L. Morrisson, there are several things that, historically, have invoked God’s judgment against His people here on earth: godlessness, wickedness, idolatry, child sacrifice, injustice, and immorality. This sounds a lot like a description of our culture, does it not? While my brain is way too small to fathom the realm of possibilities, it seems more likely that, if God were to pass judgment on this nation, it might just come from within. So, let us consider for a moment how our culture might destroy itself.


The Mathematics of Theology: Seeing to Infinity

Posted by Jonathan Bartlett
Jonathan Bartlett
Jonathan Bartlett is the director of The Blyth Institute, a nonprofit organizati
User is currently offline
on Friday, 28 September 2012
in Articles

 

When we think about the world theologically, we are trying to understand the world as God sees it. We usually see the world through very finite lenses—our perspective does not extend beyond the end of our noses. Many people take what their immediate senses tell them, and use that information to define their existence and determine their course in life.

 

As believers, however, we are called to take a deeper view. God’s kingdom is not just for today, but for eternity. God’s original plan for creation was not for a broken creation, but for a creation that He could be with forever. As such, when we analyze claims, policies, or ideas, we should not just look at how they will affect tomorrow. We should look to see how they will affect the long-term future. We need to examine what happens to our ideas as they progress towards infinity.

 

Interestingly, mathematics already has many tools for examining the infinite. The ones we will utilize here have been available within mathematics for several centuries, but few people are aware of them. The primary tool for examining what will happen to a process if it continues forever is known as a limit.

 

Introduction to Limits in Mathematics

 

The limit of a function tells us what value a function tends to go to as the value of its unknown—its “x”—approaches some number. To take a simplistic notion, let us look at a very simple function: 2x + 3.

 

Electronics for Everyone Part 2: Using a Breadboard

Posted by Jonathan Bartlett
Jonathan Bartlett
Jonathan Bartlett is the director of The Blyth Institute, a nonprofit organizati
User is currently offline
on Friday, 31 August 2012
in Articles

 

Last month, my article entitled “Electronics for Everyone” covered the basics of how electronics work and what a circuit is. If you have not read that article, you will find it helpful to read it before continuing with this one. Today we are going to learn how to use one of the most important tools of an electronic hobbyist: the solderless breadboard.

 

What is a solderless breadboard? A solderless breadboard is a device which helps you: (a) place and hold electronic components in your circuit, (b) connect your components together easily, and (c) allows you to reuse your components again and again for each new project. It is called a “solderless” breadboard because “soldering” is the process used to attach electronic components together permanently. Therefore, the solderless breadboard allows you to attach components for the desired amount of time needed for your current project.

 

For this project, we are using the following components (part numbers and links are for Radio Shack):

 

0 votes

The Fruit of the Vine

Posted by Jennifer Greenholt
Jennifer Greenholt
Jen Greenholt was an early participant in the Classical Conversations Challenge
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 26 July 2012
in Articles

 

When visitors enter the tasting room of the small Yadkin Valley winery where I have worked for the past three years, it is my goal to make their experience both pleasant and memorable. Whenever possible, I engage them in conversation. We chat about the weather, their travel plans, and the explosive growth of the wine industry in North Carolina over the past ten years.

 

Sometimes the conversation turns to me. Who am I? How did I find myself in this position? Am I trained as a sommelier? “Well, no,” I tell them. “By education, I am a writer and a scholar of English literature.” They nod politely but appear confused, so I point to the descriptions of the wines they are tasting—subtle cigar box—and crack a joke: “The former English majors of the world have to do something, right?” We share a laugh.

 

Then I become serious for a moment. One of the things I love about working at a winery, I tell them, is the perfect marriage of art and science represented there.

 

0 votes

Electronics for Everyone

Posted by Jonathan Bartlett
Jonathan Bartlett
Jonathan Bartlett is the director of The Blyth Institute, a nonprofit organizati
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 18 July 2012
in Articles


Part 1: The Simplest Circuit

 

In our present digital age, kids are in love with anything involving electricity. They are amazed by their magical merriment devices and the idea of knowing even a little bit of the secret sorcery behind them can keep kids engaged for hours. Today’s post will help you demonstrate a simple circuit, the basics of electricity, and how circuits are represented with schematics. A parts list is available at the end of the article (Do not worry—you only need four parts!).

 

0 votes

Lapbooks for Cycle 1

Posted by Nancy
Nancy
Nancy has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Monday, 28 May 2012
in News and Updates

 

Do you love lapbooks? Well, A Journey Through Learning has received permisson from Leigh to recommend many of their lapbooks for cycle 1! What is a lapbook you ask? It is like scapbooking, but with an educational twist! Your child records information, through drawing or writing, into fun little mini-booklets. Those mini-booklets are then glued into specially-folded file folders.

 

A Journey Through Learning not only provides ALL of the templates and instructions, they also provide STUDY GUIDES for each topic!!! These study guides make doing your weekly memory verses so much more educational. No more looking up the information!!! When complete, your child will have something to show dad, grandparents, and friends. They also are wonderful for your sharing time at CC. Every time your child shows and explains the contents in his lapbook, he will be continuing to learn the information within it and not even realize it! Lapbooks are also motivating for the reluctant learner.

 

So, check out the special tab just for Classical Conversations cycle 1 on A Journey Through Learning's website and let the fun begin!

www.ajourneythroughlearning.com

 

New products for Classical Conversation are being added daily! Before school starts in August they will have notebooking pages, file folder games, Latin review, copyworking and more!

0 votes

Is Knowledge of God the Beginning of Wisdom or the End of It?

Posted by Jonathan Bartlett
Jonathan Bartlett
Jonathan Bartlett is the director of The Blyth Institute, a nonprofit organizati
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 22 May 2012
in News and Updates

 

During the past few days, I have had several conversations with people regarding whether or not God has a place in science. To my dismay, many strong, Christian believers with a scientific bent are appalled at the idea of bringing God into science. They believe that if you include God in science, it will stop science from moving forward. Though this may sound far-fetched, this view is not entirely unwarranted. Unfortunately, many people do, in fact, use God to put a stop to science. My goal today, then, is to show how knowledge of God can be both used and abused within science.

 

One of the areas in which I do research is Intelligent Design, which includes the examination of signs of design within biology. While the technical limits of Intelligent Design theory do not demand that the designer be God, the idea of the intelligent design of life and God as the creator are philosophically connected. The first part of the process of showing that something signifies design is to show that it could not have arisen by purely natural means.

 

It is precisely at this point that many scientists object. As soon as they hear that, I get a litany of complaints:

0 votes

Baby Steps to Science Part 3: Collecting Observations

Posted by Jonathan Bartlett
Jonathan Bartlett
Jonathan Bartlett is the director of The Blyth Institute, a nonprofit organizati
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 08 May 2012
in Articles

 

So far in this series, we have discussed counting and drawing as ways of engaging in science. In this article we are going to focus on collecting observations.

 

In science, as in life, observation is important. But one of the things that makes science different is the rigor with which the observations are collected and presented. For instance, it is one thing to say from experience that “bees seem to like dandelions,” and it is another thing to systematically collect observations regarding the flowers from which bees are eating.

 

To collect observations, you need to decide:

0 votes

Teaching Science

Posted by Community
Community
Community has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 07 March 2012
in Articles

 

by Guest Contributor: Fritz Hinrichs**

 

When teaching science, it is important to remember that science did not arise out of a vacuum but has a history of its own.   When we teach science without historical context, we set it up as an dogma that can easily usurp the place of other valid authorities.  Students need to develop the computational skills that scientific proficiency requires; however, emphasizing the history of science will keep your science program from becoming narrow.  The history of science has been a rocky and often embarrassing saga; however, this is not the impression you will get using many modern textbooks as they content themselves with simply summarizing the theories that are currently most widely accepted.

 

Most Popular

I need to tell a story, a true story from our own history. This story will help us to answer some questions we have about the content which we use t
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…     — Proverbs 23:7     All of my children are in the double digits. While
Chapters Six through Eight - Math, Geography, and Logic   What’s Your Big Hairy Monster? by Cara McLauchlan     “Teach your stu
As I have visited with parents over the years about the classical, Christian model of education, many have been overwhelmed by what seems to be “way
Last month, I wrote an article called, “How to Raise a Discoverer.” This month, I want to expand on that idea. Toward the end of the first article,

Home | FAQ | Request a Catalog | Online Catalog | Conference Schedule | Online Bookstore | Merchandise and Gifts | Our Partners | Store Return Policy | Contact Us | Leigh Bortins | Faith Statement |
Press Room | New Classical Portal | CC Webmail | Articles | Product Submission Guidelines | Advertisers | Employment | Menu for Tablet Users


©1997-2013 Classical Conversations Inc.
PO Box 909, West End, NC 27376