When it comes to seeking and creating opportunities to connect students with the Word of God, Christian teachers are not shy. Our ability to use curriculum as the vehicle to carry out this biblical mandate (Deuteronomy 6:6-7) is the distinguishing feature of our ministry. Any document presented to a learner occasions the opportunity to include a Bible text. But if you have ever wondered how to choose a text that relates to a mathematics topic, consider these five approaches.
|1. Offer encouragement||Focus: Always do your best (Ecclesiastes 9:10).||This is not topic-related and can be used as a default when it’s difficult to find a direct math-Bible connection. However, it is to be followed by a discussion of why this is important.|
|2. Reference the topic’s use||Topic: Counting. Can you count the stars (Genesis 15:5)?||Search for biblical instances when someone counted, calculated area or volume, etc.; discuss why to make a Jesus connection.|
|3. Do a word play or study||Topic: Multiplying. What might ‘multiply’ mean in the context of Deuteronomy 8:13?||Search for biblical instances of the word that might have a different or the same meaning; discuss why to make a Jesus connection.|
|4. Make an application||Topic: Finding Volume. Calculate the volume of the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 37:1).||The students use the mathematics they learn to solve problems or explore phenomena present in the Bible. Discuss the phenomena itself to make a Jesus connection.|
|5. Make an analogy or other figurative connection||Topic: Commutative Property. Just as the commutative property allows numbers to switch places, Jesus switched places with us, taking our sin, giving us His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).||Especially as the mathematics becomes more complex, this can be a most useful tool. Jesus used it extensively when making parables. It is particularly useful for the middle and upper grade levels which are expected to be able to grapple with figurative language.|
Your chosen approach should be guided by the goal of delivering an organic connection, one that is unforced because it easily relates to the topic at hand, using it to ultimately give insight into God’s character or salvation work. A variety of approaches is needed since not every topic lends itself well to any one approach.
Although focused on using graphic organizers to activate prior learning, this Appendix also illustrates the incorporation of biblical material. Each graphic organizer of the Appendix concludes with a Bible text, but that text can be presented in a variety of formats. It can be partnered with a teaser question, a fill-in-the-blanks prompt, a puzzle, or other creative means. The key is to keep within the mode of engagement, stirring wonder and interest as age-appropriate. Getting students to reflect on their faith and learning is not at all a unique goal of mathematics instruction; the methods proffered here can be adapted to graphic organizers of any content area.