Because life is a series of edits

Sacramental Science

In Educators, Pedagogy, Teachers, Veritas on October 18, 2012 at 9:06 pm


Bill Smiling


Bill Fix is a retired science teacher who taught 26 years at Norman High. But it wasn't until he attended our Constructing the Vision banquet this past March that he finally had the language to name his classical education tendencies.

"A Veritas staff member invited me to attend the banquet and I was so glad I did," he recalls. "I was blown away listening to Susan Wise Bauer describe classical education's grammar, logic, and rhetoric progression, as it was exactly the way I always tried to think about and teach science. I was inspired."


Janet and Bill

So inspired, in fact, that he agreed to sit in with me (Craig) in the spring as I interviewed applicants for our vacant Upper School science positions. We also got together periodically during the summer to discuss longer-term plans for more solidly developing our entire school science curriculum in conjunction with Academic Dean Todd Wedel and our curriculum mapping team.

A member at Wildwood Community Church in Norman, Bill gets what we're trying to do through classical Christian education, and he has the expertise and experience to help us do it across the sciences.


Bill Explaining

"The way to learn science is to do science," says Bill. "The experiment
is the focus at the beginning, not the tag-along at the end. If we're
going to get students talking about science, they have to have
content to talk about. The experiments are the database from which they
can draw."

This lines up well with our desire at Veritas to do what one of our board members has called "sacramental science" – a hands-on approach to the study of the general, physical, and earth sciences, as well as to our biology, chemistry, and physics courses.


To that end, just yesterday Bill stopped by to drop off nine boxes – nine boxes! – of
scientific instruments and glassware he had rounded up free of charge
for Veritas. He also sat in on two of our science classes before joining
our juniors and co-teaching Chemistry. I'm honestly not sure who had
more fun – our Veritas students or Bill.


Science Toys 1


Science Toys 2

In a conversation about deeper goals for our Pre-K through 12th grade curriculum, I asked Bill for his perspective as to what a student and teacher of the sciences should look like. As he is wont to do, he paused before answering, then offered this:

"I want to see students learn and demonstrate good
observational skills and ways of going about, sorting, and synthesizing
data and systems. The science teacher's job is not to be the source
of information, but the guide through the unknown."

Which is why I've asked Bill to serve as a mentor for us in the area of the sciences. I'm excited to see where he guides our students and teachers as they explore God's world.

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