Making Sense of Science and Religion: Strategies for the Classroom and Beyond

by: Joseph W. Shane, Lee Meadows, Ronald S. Hermann, and Ian C. Binns

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The authors of Making Sense of Science and Religion believe that addressing interactions between science and religion is part of all science educators’ collective job—and that this is the book that will help you facilitate discussion when the topic of religion comes up.

Designed for teachers at all grade levels, the book will help you anticipate and respond to students’ questions—and help students reconcile their religious beliefs even as you delve into topics such as evolution, geochronology, genetics, the origin of the universe, and climate change.

The book is divided into three parts:
1. Historical and cultural context, plus a framework for addressing science-religion issues in a legal, constitutional manner.
2. Guidance on teaching specific scientific concepts at every grade level: elementary, middle, and high school science, as well as college and informal science settings.
3. Advice for engaging families, administrators, school boards, legislators and policy makers, and faith communities.

The book’s authors are all personally and professionally invested in the subject. They are a mix of K–12 teachers, college professors, and experts from organizations such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. They know that teaching about the interaction between science and religion is not easy.

But they also know that educators have an ethical obligation to minimize the perceived conflict between science and religion. As the authors write, “When students hear a consistent message during science instruction—that they can learn science while maintaining their religious beliefs—they are much more willing to learn regardless of messages to the contrary that they might hear outside of your classroom.”

*********ENDORSEMENTS*********

“I have been hoping for a volume like this for a long time. Making Sense of Science and Religion marshals the best scholarship on science and religion toward the deeply practical aim of helping science teachers understand what is at stake for both religion and science in the science classroom. This volume should be read by anyone who cares about making science more accessible."
Elaine Howard Ecklund, author of Secularity and Science: What Scientists Around the World Really Think About Religion

“A thoughtful and thorough guide to navigating the interface between science and faith, Making Sense of Science and Religion combines the elements of a legal handbook and a how-to manual to create a common-sense guidebook for holding respectful conversations on this controversial topic. It’s a must read for scholars, educators, and anyone interested in the impact of science on religious thought.”
Dr. Kenneth Miller, Professor of Biology, Brown University

“This book is at once thoughtful and practical. The authors make a compelling, well-researched case that respecting students’ religious beliefs and addressing their faith-motivated questions not only is ethical and legal, but actually leads to better learning outcomes in the public school science classroom. Their gentler, humbler approach will be useful for teachers of any belief who want to reach all students in their science classrooms.”
Deborah Haarsma, astronomer and president of BioLogos

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