Create An Internet Independent Study Project Landing Page and Branch Pages In Response To An Inquiry Question (high school level)

“The task is not to see what has never been seen before, but to think what has never been thought before about what you see everyday.” — Erwin Schrödinger (1887 – 1961)
  1. Sample Inquiry Question: “If Jesus was an apocalyptic prophet predicting the soon end of the age, why the major emphasis on personal and societal growth and transformation?”

2. Sample Product:

Click on laughing Jesus below to enter the project!

free image source

Create A Checklist For Your Project. Here is a sample checklist:

source: free for teachers from

Create an assessment evaluation rubric to analyze your thinking. Here is a sample:

source: free from Impact, The Journal of the Chartered College of Teaching:

ENJOY! Welcome to my web said the spider to the fly, lol

Treat Your Kids Like the Little Philosophers They Are

Great new article suggesting to treat kids like philosophers:

Here’s an excerpt:

I hope the kids continue to have those sorts of conversations. I want them to think deeply about the world, to ponder big ideas, like truth, justice, and God. But the research suggests that those conversations are likely to trail off as they age. Little kids (age 3-8) often raise philosophical questions on their own (“Why does the world exist?” “What is it like to be dead?” “Am I dreaming my entire life?”). They’re puzzled by the world—and they’re trying to puzzle it out.

But as they age, kids start to worry about what others think of them. They don’t want to seem silly or risk being wrong. And they notice that the adults in their lives don’t discuss questions like, “Why does the world exist?” or “Am I dreaming my entire life?” Over time, they lose some of their curiosity and courage as thinkers.

I think that’s a shame. The world could use more deep and discerning thinkers. We’re flooded with disinformation, and too many people are too easily duped by it. Our society values hot takes and tweets more than sustained thought.

The good news is: we can push back on that. If we support our kids’ philosophical adventures, they’re more likely to continue them. In fact, we can raise philosophers.


Inquiry Questions and Metacognition

One of the most important goals of teaching is fostering “Metacognition,” making implicit student thinking processes explicit for the students. One approach to this is teaching Inquiry Questions. All student work is going to be an answer to questions, and so getting students to become aware of the questions they are answering helps to create cohesion and meaningfulness to their learning. Here are two examples:

(1) This essay is called “The Justified Lie By The Johannine Jesus In Its Greco-Roman-Jewish Context.” The Inquiry Questions it is answering are: (i) Does the Gospel of John portray Jesus as lying? (ii) If so, why would the writer portray such a thing? See:

(2) This essay is called “A Critique of the Penal Substitution Interpretation of the Cross of Christ.” The Inquiry Questions it is answering are: Our oldest faith statement of the cross is from the Corinthian creed/poetry Paul quotes that “Christ Died For Our Sins.” Does this mean Christ died (i) to pay our sin debt, or (ii) to make our hidden sin nature conspicuous to inspire transformation and repentance? See:

In the above cases, seeing how student writing not only has a specific form (eg recount, report, narrative, etc), but also has an unfolding thesis, theme, etc, and blossoms forth in the context of inquiry questions, students not only find greater purpose in their work, but also become better thinkers as their cognitive strategies and approaches go from implicit to explicit.

Thinking about the difference between Conservative and Liberal Christians

There is a big controversy about whether conservative Christians, or liberal Christians, are better interpreters of the message of Jesus. There is a massive amount of literature about this, but perhaps an easy way to help to begin talking to your students about it is this:

Conservative Christians: The idea is there is basically something wrong with you, that only Jesus can heal, and if you don’t request this healing there are dire consequences. This is a helpful illustrative short video shared on Twitter:

Liberal Christians:

3 John 1:2 NRSV

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul.

The basic idea here is that Jesus is like a personal trainer. Personal trainers are good and even the healthiest and athletic of us can benefit from a personal trainer, but that doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with you or you are doomed if you don’t seek the trainer out:

From the end of the movie Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

The conservative vs liberal debate both certainly encapsulate part of what the original Jesus movement taught, but perhaps there are some ideas that are more original than either.

Background For Teachers On The Argument For God’s Existence From Beauty

Of the traditional arguments trying to prove the existence of God (ontological argument, cosmological argument, argument from design, and argument from beauty), the argument from beauty is one of the most popular, persuasive, and easy to understand. For instance, surely the beautiful image below is evidence of a divine artist …

from apologists

In helping students question the argument from beauty, there is no need to upset them by showing the image below, but a gentler analogous image can be used to show the argument from beauty is special pleading, picking and choosing images that might support a religious belief and ignoring those that don’t. Eg:


And besides, beauty is not in the world, but in the eye of the beholder: eg one person sees a dilapidated bungalow, while another sees it as a quaint cottage; or, one person see a mansion as magnificent, while a minimalist sees it as gawdy.

Education and Censorship

This is a recent post by Jeana Jorgensen, who studied folklore under Alan Dundes at the University of California, Berkeley, and went on to earn her PhD in folklore from Indiana University. She addresses the issue of censorship in education.

Also, consider this, because all religious people don’t look at this issue in the same way:


If questionable content makes a book a target, should the bible be banned for such things genocide, etc? Spoiler: Of course not!