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science and religion

Science and religion: can science answer all the world’s questions?

What were we trying to achieve?

  • to enable children to consider where to look for some of life’s ‘big questions’
  • to sense the world around
  • to stimulate discussion about science and religion, and whether science is always right
science and religion
Using an open space to stimulate questions about the relationship between science and religion.

Who was involved?

Activity completed by 20 children between the ages of 9-11. This activity can be accessed by all pupils.

Preparation

Fair weather, writing materials and clipboards. Ideally, the activity should take place in an area of natural beauty to help children appreciate nature.

How did we organise the learning?

Introduction

The activity began by asking the pupils why we do science in school, what is science and why do we do it? They then discussed how they rely on their senses.

Main Activity

The pupils were then taken onto the school field. They were asked to lie in a relaxed way so that they could see the sky and to briefly record answers to the following questions:

  • What is the sky like? What colours could can you see? What shapes are the clouds?
  • In what ways can you sense the wind?
  • Be silent – what do you hear?
  • Touch the grass and the ground. How does it feel? How can you tell?
  • Are any living creatures out and about?
  • While looking at the sky, breathe in and out and be conscious of your breathing. What are you thinking? Is it an important thought for you? If so, keep hold of it for later.

Once back in the classroom, the pupils discussed which senses they had used and what this had told them. Questions were asked about how scientists reach conclusions. They were also asked to consider any ‘spiritual’ questions which they had had whilst lying on the ground and to think about how they were different from scientific thoughts.

What was the impact of the experience?

Having moved the furniture and using a technique of sitting as an executive board, the class considered some shared questions from religion and science including questions about creation. They discussed their opinions questions such as: ‘Can science be wrong?’ or ‘Can physics explain why a bumble bee flies?’ were considered. The children came to the conclusion that while science is rooted in proving theories from evidence, this is not always possible. They thought that religion was the opposite, being based on a belief system. To conclude, they agreed on a statement about their findings:

‘It is important to think ‘deep inside’ ourselves and use our own senses before accepting things as being truthful’.

Follow up

This activity was followed up by looking at what can be learned from our senses both spiritually and scientifically.

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