Friday, June 20, 2008

Blinded By Science

Our church's Vacation Bible School, slated for next month, was originally going to be themed around Augsburg-Fortress' "Rainforest Adventure" curriculum. That has since been nixed, because the material was deemed too challenging.

Not for the kids. For the teacher.

This poor young mom was in a major state of freak-out, at the last committee-of-committees meeting I attended, because she was afraid of the science aspect of "Rainforest Adventure." Assurances from others that she was fully capable of handling the class didn't help.

I am trying to maintain some sense of sympathy here, but -- this curriculum isn't rocket science, folks.

There is something about women who model learned helplessness about science that just drives me crazy -- you know, who go all Lucy Ricardo/Nathan-Lane-in-"The-Birdcage" when asked to interact with nature or otherwise think seriously about the physical world.

So...our kids are doing "Veggie Tales" for VBS this year. Sigh.


Bad Alice said...

My church actually had a Mad Science VBS. Really, this is all aimed at elementary and middle schoolers--how hard can it be?

One caveat: If I had to handle worms and bugs I would have to overcome a lot of revulsion.

The Simpleton said...

Yow. I'm no brain surgeon, but I would volunteer to come up and teach your Rainforest VBS. I suppose that wouldn't be politic, though.

LutheranChik said...

I think that ship has sailed, S. I would have volunteered, if I didn't have a day job...and that's coming from soneone who doesn't do well contending with squirmy young children in groups. Oh, well.

Anonymous said...

Long time lurker here, but I just had to comment on this. I loved it when Augsburg added a science site to their VBS curriculum (I've been directing our VBS for a few years, or at least trying to) and it was a HUGE hit with the kids.

We live in an extremely small town & this year have joined forces with the Catholic (yes, capital C) church for VBS for various reasons. I didn't want to shove Augsburg down their throats, so I let my co-director pick the curriculum & she chose Concordia's (kind of ironic).

Anyway, I asked last year's science site leader (an ELCA Lutheran woman in her late 30s) if she would consider writing her own curriculum for this year, since Concordia didn't include one. She didn't hesitate to accept the challenge, and I know it's going to be great. She so gets that it's not rocket science and she has the internet to do much of the work for her.

Veggie Tales - "sigh" is right.

ProclaimingSoftly(PSanafter-thought) said...

That's the reason I've never liked Lucy's comedy, although the real Lucy was no dummy. I know that girls/women in this country aren't taught that they are capable of math and science. Unfortunately I played into that in our home. I wanted my husband more involved with my son's math, so I said I couldn't do it. Actually, what I couldn't do was start in the middle of a chapter in the middle of the book and know what I was doing. And my husband had the patience to do that by reading all that came before that in the chapter.

However when my MOTHER helped me with my math, she would make me start in the beginning of the chapter and "teach" the chapter to her, finally getting up to the problem section, and, guess what, I would suddenly understand.

My husband couldn't grasp that concept.

LutherLiz said...

That's really too bad. We just finished VBS (Group's Power Lab) which was a huge science component and the kids LOVED it. They got into it more than the last several years. And even more so they loved to see the leaders get the science wrong and see things not work quite right. We were quick to change experiments to ones we though might work better and be easier too but it was a huge hit.

It is interesting too that a volunteer has that much pull. As a Dir. of CE I had some volunteers who wished they were running the show but not one really expressed so much worry over the curriculum picked.

PK said...

Yeah! VBS! First and only planning meeting next week... exactly 2 weeks before we hold VBS. Can you tell that I'm just as excited at you are... especially since I can't figure out who we are having VBS for this year (almost everyone is 13+).

The joys of summer in a congregation... who do things... because we've always done them that way!

Tom in Ontario said...

Not enough kids or volunteers to do a VBS in our church. For a few years I sent my kids to the LCMS church for VBS (figured they'd get better theology there than at the Baptist or Pentecostal VBS).

C'mon, though. Veggie Tales isn't that bad. I don't know what the VBS curriculum is like but I think the cartoons are a riot.

LutheranChik said...

It's not so much that I'm anti-VT than that I'm pro-Augsburg-Fortress and pro helping kids understand the connection between spirituality and the natural world; know what I mean? But I nonetheless sucked in my disappointment and carpet-bombed our local media with press releases about our VBS.;-)

Amy Ireland said...

Augsburg Fortress added science to VBS a few years ago when it fit well with the theme, and has continued it after receiving positive feedback.

I was concerned that the science curriculum was perceived to be difficult for some teachers. Do you have any suggestions for Augsburg Fortress to make it easier for teachers to implement the science lessons?

Thanks for sharing your comments!

Amy Ireland
Sr. Director, Strategic Marketing
Augsburg Fortress