I have always been fascinated with the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925. I know it sounds dorky but here is a teacher, John Scopes, who chose with the help a few close friends (I don't know if I want these kind of friends) to challenge a law he felt was unjust. I find the history behind the whole trial as well as the outcome fascinating. I think I bring a lot of this enthusiasm into our discussions when we start reading Inherit the Wind. However, one area I feel like I have never done a great job of is making the trial relevant to my students- that is until yesterday.
Ideally, I wanted two Biology teachers to come and speak with my ninth graders about what it is like to be a biology teacher in the 21st century. I asked Adam Wallace, a passionate evolutionist, as well as Cara Syers, a devoted Creationist, to come and speak to my students. Cara wasn't able to find a sub for her class but we were quite fortunate to have Adam come and speak. The kids didn't say much to Adam after his presentation, but they left some interesting comments on our class blog in reaction to his presentation.
I do have to confess I was nervous exploring the issue of religion/ faith/ creation of the earth with ninth graders but I am very pleased with how this turned out. I hope it made to more personal and relevant to them. I know I learned many new things from Adam that I hadn't thought of before regarding his role as Biology teacher and all the various beliefs versus hypothesis about the creation of the world (notice Adam I used the word hypothesis). I am looking forward to next year hoping that I can have Cara and Adam both present to facilitate this important conversation with our students.
Adam- I would love for you to comment about the presentation and experience as well.