This summer Mrs. Malafronte, Theology Department and Mrs. Pugliese Math Department, attended the Notre Dame’s McGrath Institute For Church Life Seminar
titled, FOUNDATIONS: Educating at the Intersection Between Faith and Science.
“The development of science is a splendid testimony to humankind’s tireless search and capacity to understand may things. Yet, science and technology do not free us from the obligation to ask religious questions, but can spur us on to ask the most difficult questions of heart and conscience. The responsibility to prepare our Mercy students “whole self” must incorporate these themes and our departments can work together in curriculum planning and preparation to answer important questions about faith and reason often raised by our students who are entering an ever increasing technologically and ethically challenging environment,” noted Mrs. Malafronte.
Fifteen schools from across the USA and Spain sent two science or math teachers and one theology teacher to address the question “Are faith and science compatible?” Mrs. Bullock, Dean of Academics, Ms. Iannucci, Mrs. Malafronte and Mrs. Pugliese read five books on theology and science throughout the spring to prepare for the seminar and they held weekly discussions on the readings and application in the classroom.
The women found it be an incredible week; taking part in scientific experiments on the Photoelectric Effect and a Biology lab on classification and evolution. Discussion on the intersection of science and religion through integration of faith and science in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition was very inspirational. Mrs. Malafronte and Mrs. Pugliese created many friendships with this extremely friendly and knowledgeable group as they spent many hours together. Their day started with a 7 am Mass (optional), breakfast, lecture, lab, lunch, lecture, discussion group, dinner, lecture. This last lecture ended around 9 pm. Two nights ended at 7 pm to allow the group to enjoy New Orleans or have a relaxing evening.
Mrs. Pugliese explained, “I was truly inspired to incorporate my readings within my curriculum. For me the big take away was, talk, talk talk, about God/Jesus/Catholicism whatever your subject area. Our students need to hear from us that scientists and theologians are both in awe of God and His creation. I’ll be honest, I stayed away from talking about Catholicism in my classes because I thought it was more important to stick with the math. But the reality is that people are moving away from religion, thinking that God does not have a huge part in our current world, the goal is for teachers to bring God and His divine plan, front and center.”
Mrs. Mal and Mrs. Pugliese were asked to submit a lesson plan combining science and theology using actual Mercy curriculum goals. Their lesson was reviewed and accepted by the professors and it will be posted on the Notre Dame: McGrath Institute Teacher Resource Sharing Website. They chose freshman curriculum standards and created a three class lesson creating an evolutionary timeline combining Theology, Math and Biology, entitled- “Crossing the Threshold of Faith and Science”. Their lesson plan works within the freshwomen curriculum of evolution, scientific notation and dimensional analysis, and theology. Both teachers are excited to see the implementation of this lesson because it definitely illustrates how science and theology work together to explain the world, and math is the language that aids the explanation.