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Meaningful Questions, Inquiry, and Discovery

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Professional development fuels excellence in WC science classroom

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

It has been said that if you are passionate about what you do, you will never work a day in your life. Indeed, a believer’s vocation, is not merely a job; it is a ministry and an act of worship. Interacting with individuals who demonstrate their passion in a way that exemplifies excellence is truly inspiring. This ethic was evident in a recent conversation with Christie Burns, a WC Upper School science teacher.

Burns carries a full course load of instruction: she teaches lab-based sciences: Physics, Chemistry, and Biology, both at the general level and at the Honors and AP levels. Her educational background is Pre-Med from Grace College, and later a Master of Teaching and Learning. God directed Christie to teach at Worthington Christian in 2000 for an initial five-year tenure, followed by a position at Oakstone Academy, then returning to WC in 2011, where she continues.  Burns attributes her experience in tutoring in high school and college as influential in eventually pursuing teaching as a career.

Burns’ passion and expertise for teaching in the sciences have propelled her to pursue professional development, culminating in certification in a program called Grow Next Gen, which equips teachers and students to study science through the lens of Agriculture concerning food production and fuel production. Burns’ goal is to “help my students dream bigger…in their education. We have connections in medicine and engineering, but agriculture and research are other valid options for students studying science. As Christians, we are called to care for others. Food is an important field to keep growing better and better.”

Worthington Christian now offers Advanced Placement (AP) Physics, Biology, and Chemistry courses. With that, Burns has been involved in summer training to provide instruction and preparation for these college-level courses. She values the opportunity to gain new ideas and methods to bring to her classroom. Burns shares that one of her goals as an educator in the sciences is to affirm that “intelligent minds can recognize who God is.”  Indeed, in His creativity, as Burns explains, God can reveal something simple in its complexity and help us understand the complexity of a concept through simplicity. Burns believes that much of the value of working in the lab sciences lies in providing “a space to come together and solve problems. It provides a place to ask questions, seek truth, and learn together.”

In addition to the newly programmed AP science courses at WC, Christie teaches Physics and Honors Chemistry sections. She considers her work in the science classroom as an opportunity to help students “see more and more who God is” and also enables students to “develop creativity so that together [we can] seek answers to meaningful questions.”

Burns’ pursuit of professional development reflects her commitment to equip students to be well-prepared academically. She seeks to foster a climate of inquiry in her classroom and to help students consider “what is black-and-white, and what [may be] gray areas” concerning big ideas, which may not provide a “quick answer.”

In the Upper School Science classrooms, Burns and her students embrace daily opportunities to learn more about “the intricacies of how the world is put together and reveals who God is, and the amazingness of creation.” Learning where education in the science classroom at WC propels past, current, and future generations of graduates will be exciting.

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