As a math teacher, the concept of making sure that faith permeates my teaching can be overwhelming. I’m a firm believer that most of the permeation does not happen in explicit teaching (particularly in a math classroom), but through every day interactions with students. Taking advantage of those teachable moments and allowing conversations to build naturally is the best way to allow students to see that faith permeates our entire lives.
However, when I do see opportunities to connect my faith and math explicitly, I do take them. An example of this is in the Sequences and Series unit of Math 20-1. This is the first unit of that course, and it is an excellent opportunity to discuss Fibonacci, Phi (the Golden Ratio), and the relationship between math, nature, and God.
I firmly believe that there is a strong relationship between God and math. A few years ago I read the book Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer, and it vocalized many things that I already believed. The world is so incredible, and our universe is so complex. It is utterly amazing that everything aligned in a way that would allow us to exist, to be the way we are, to have our consciences and to be able to function in our ecosystem. It is an astounding number of coincidences that leads me to believe that it isn’t coincidence at all.
“Mathematics is the language with which God has written the universe.” – Galileo
That math can be used to describe our universe so accurately is amazing to me, and having a firm understanding of math can help us to better understand our world, our existence, and God. The incredible complexity of nature and its relationship to math is aptly described in Vi Hart’s videos on Fibonacci. Students really enjoy these videos. Vi Hart is a “mathemusician” who talks about complex mathematical concepts in an easy-to-understand way (and she talks really fast!), and she is famous for her doodle games.
Here are the videos I show:
I find that these videos get the kids interested, and it shows them how much math is all around us.