Our Math Philosophy in Action
The study of math provides many opportunities for promoting spiritual understanding and growth in godliness. In nearly every class period the Christian teacher of mathematics can reinforce such moral habits as diligence, honesty, precision, and perseverance. The student learns procedure by principle, which is necessary in moral and spiritual life as well as in mathematics.
The Christian math teacher emphasizes the evidence of purposeful design in the universe. He illustrates this design using pictures and diagrams that point out natural geometric patterns and their functions—for instance, the hexagonal structure of a honeycomb or the Golden Ratio.
The study of math helps the student discover truths about the Creator.
On page 128 of the Math 3 Student Text, following the chapter theme of caves, a photo of the Big Room at Carlsbad Caverns bears a caption reminding the student that “God created all things in heaven and earth” (Colossians 1:16).
In the Math 4 Teacher’s Edition, on page 312, the lesson introduction states,
When a submarine dives thousands of feet down into the depths of the ocean, it cannot be seen by anyone above the surface of the water. However, God is omnipresent, which means that He is everywhere and that He sees all things. God knows exactly where a submarine is, and He can see all the crew members.
This introduction continues the submarine theme from earlier lessons and points out one of God’s attributes—His omnipresence.
The study of math can improve a student’s own mental clarity and critical-thinking skills.
For the Algebra 1 Chapter 13 Exam, students must define expressions for each of two numbers, write a rational equation from given information and solve the resulting quadratic equation.
In the Fundamentals of Math Student Text, the “Dominion through Math” section on page 17, the student is asked to determine which type of estimate is best for the situation.
Estimate the lift needed to fly a plane (empty weight of 1,981 lb.) carrying adults (average weight of 190 lb.), 2 children (average weight 85 lb.), and 285 lb. of fuel. Is the answer to exercise 40 an overestimate or an underestimate? Why? As a pilot, should you over- or underestimate the total weight of your plane? Why?
The follow-up question also requires the student to think beyond the problem and analyze a real-life situation.
On pages 438-440 of the Math 5 Teacher’s Edition, the student participates in a hands-on measurement lesson using charts, a yard tape, and a 14-foot rope). The student throws a ball as far as he can and measures the distance. The lesson begins with recalling multiplication and division facts and subtracting like fractions and mixed numbers. It includes measuring to the nearest inch, foot, and yard; writing the abbreviation for each unit of lenth; reading the symbols for foot and inch, renaming inches, feet, and yards, renaming miles as feet; and determining the appropriate customary unit of length. This exercise requires the student to recall multiple concepts and apply them practically.
The study of logic lessens the student’s chances of falling prey to certain fallacies.
The Geometry Activities Manual presents this paradox:
Can God create a rock that He cannot lift? Many people would reply that of course He could, because God can do anything. However, if He did create a rock He could not lift, then He would not be able to lift it and therefore could not do everything. This paradox results from a misunderstanding of the principle that God can do anything. Can God lie or sin in any way? Give a verse to support your answer. God can do anything that is consistent with His character, but we cannot apply the principle that God can do anything in cases like sin or the paradox above. What fallacy, therefore, does this paradox commit?These questions teach the student to identify a fallacy and counter it with real logic.
The study of math helps the student find solutions to real-life questions.
Page 243 of the Math 2 Student Worktext presents this problem.
Chef Andre has 2 cookie sheets. He puts 7 cookies on each sheet. How many cookies does he make?
While teaching simple multiplication, this problem also helps the student begin to see the connection between math problems and real life.
The student encounters this question in the Math & Scripture feature on page 387 of the Pre-Algebra Student Text.
If a family’s average annual income over forty-five working years is about $50,000, what total amount will they have contributed to the Lord’s work if they give just 10%?
This question relates to the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14–28, and shows how sound financial planning allows a person to serve the Lord in amazing ways.
A sound mathematical foundation opens the door to many career opportunities.
Questions throughout each textbook show students how math skills are used to solve real problems in hundreds of careers—cooking, retail sales, carpentry, medicine, clothing design, and many more.
In Chapter 1 of the Precalculus Student Text, the student has completed a scatterplot illustrating the relationship between the length and weight of alligators and found linear, quadratic, cubic, and exponential equations modeling the relationship between these characteristics. Chapter Review p. 42 asks the student to
Give an overall evaluation of these models. Which would you prefer and why?
This question requires the student to analyze the models and express a preference based on specific reasons. A zoologist observing alligators might have to make a similar choice in the course of his study.
The “Dominion Thru Math” section on page 387 of the Geometry Student Text states:
Printing presses, copiers, and automated packaging machines use a series of rollers to feed paper. The smallest roller often drives the others as it turns. A certain copier has three rollers whose radii are 2 inches for A, 3 inches for B and 4 inches for C. In the coordinate plane, their centers are A (12, 2), B (3, 3) and C so that the roller rests on the two. Roller A is the drive, and circle C is tangent to both A and B.
Draw the circles on the graph paper. How can you find the center (and shaft) of roller C?
This question teaches the student how math might be used by someone with a career in printing or packaging.
Quiz 3 for Fundamentals of Math poses this question:
Last month Mr. Cain had $40,000 in sales with a 10% commission. His commission was raised to 12%. If he makes $40,000 in sales next month, how much more will his monthly check be?
Here the student learns about the usefulness of math to someone who works on commission.
Questions like this help the student understand that math is relevant not only to his everyday life but also to his future career. God calls Christians into many fields of service, and mathematics is a prerequisite to many vocations, especially those involving technology or finances. With a sound foundation in mathematics, the student will be prepared to enter one of these fields and bring the light of the gospel with him.