Loading...
teacher_tools_edarticles.jpg
3:42 read

Biblical Worldview Shaping in Elementary Math

A biblical worldview is at the foundation of every subject at BJU Press. We want students to understand the world from the lens of Scripture. With so many different worldviews striving to win students’ affections, our materials equip your students with the tools to see how the Bible speaks to every area of life. Math is one area where students might think that it has nothing to do with the Bible. From the earliest grade levels, we want students to see how math relates to what God says in His word.

Our elementary math program has five main themes for biblical worldview shaping. Each level of math builds on the previous course’s foundations to help students mature in their understanding of math according to a biblical worldview. Each course introduces these themes in an age-appropriate way, while offering practical real-world examples to encourage students to embrace these themes in their own lives.

Biblical Worldview Shaping Themes

Work

The first major biblical worldview them in our elementary math program is that math helps us in our work. Since God calls us to work, math is an important part of accomplishing God’s will for our lives. Many jobs or projects require knowledge and skill in math. Part of teaching students that math is a tool to help us accomplish tasks is by introducing real-world problems. The problems for each grade level become more difficult as students learn they will encounter math everywhere, whether it’s baking, construction projects, shopping, and traveling. For example, in Math 4 students will use their knowledge of fractions to build a cell-phone holder out of Legos and then consider how they would need math to run a business selling their product.

Another way our program allows teachers to relate math to work is that math requires patience and diligence. As some students struggle to understand math concepts, they can learn the joy of perseverance. Our materials show students that their work in math is glorifying to God.

Design

The second theme for worldview shaping is that this world is designed. Math is a display of God’s intelligence and wisdom in His creation. Just as a beautiful painting or sculpture demonstrates planning by an artist, so the design we see in creation shows design by our omniscient God. Our materials show how things like the symmetry of flowers, the predictability of the stars, and the pull of gravity all exist because of God. Students will learn how this truth allows us to have confidence in the orderliness of the world. One way we teach this in Math 2, is through a story about the character Matt building a house in the jungle. The students will see that if math works in one part of God’s world it will work in another part as well. Through teacher guided discussions and reflection questions, these materials help students see how God’s design of math is good and direct them to give God glory and thanks.

Modeling

The third biblical worldview theme in our elementary math program is that math is a tool for modeling the world around us. When God created us in His image, He gave us remarkable intellectual powers. With those gifts, we are able to develop and use math as a tool. But, as we use math we have to remember that math is a human attempt to describe the world God made. For example in Math 3 is through a story about students visiting Mesa Verde National Park. Through this story and follow-up questions, students learn how a mathematic model can be used for dating rocks, but since we were not alive when the earth was formed the dates are not always accurate. Math works well because it describes God’s world, but it is only a simplification of the world. Math is a helpful model, but it cannot answer life’s most important questions. Lessons in our materials use stories and word problems to facilitate discussions about what math can and cannot do.  We want students to understand that math has limits and that the Bible alone has the answers to life’s most important questions.

Wisdom

The fourth truth is that math enables us to make wise choices. Since humans can think and reason and create models with math and solve problems, we can use those things to help us to plan and make wise decisions. Through application questions, students will connect their knowledge of math to making wise decisions about money and time. One way we teach this in Math 5 STEM activities is by learning how pilots need to learn math to learn to fly a plane, prepare flight paths, and make adjustments. Then students will think about how their training prepares make wise decisions if anything unexpected happens while flying.  These examples help them consider what the best use of their resources would be. Since God is the one who gives us what we have, using math to make wise decisions is glorifying to God.

Service

The final theme in our math program is that math helps us serve others. We should recognize all people as image bearers of God and show love to them as God has called us to. One way we show love to others is by identifying ways we can help them and serve them. As students read about and solve examples of real-world problems in their math lessons, they will find connections between using math and serving others. We want students to find delight in solving problems to help others. An example from the STEM activities in Math 5, is students will learn about how many people don’t have access to clean water. They will apply their knowledge about math to design a water filter to help meet the needs of others.  A similar emphasis of our program is to show how serving others with math can open doors to spreading the message of the gospel. Showing kindness to others by helping meet their needs can create opportunities to talk about Christ.

As students study these themes through the various levels of math, they will be moving through the levels of Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy. Through our program students won’t just be able to recall these themes but they will also be able to think critically about them create solutions to the problems they encounter. Through word problems, real-life stories, and reflections, students will be challenged to view math from a biblical worldview. If students embrace these truths, they will be able to use math in the way God intended. They will grow to use their gifts and knowledge of math as a means of glorifying God and sharing His love with others.

Filed Under:
Category: Philosophy