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### Math and the Bible

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Date: 01/24/2002 at 12:38:36
From: Elissa
Subject: Math and Biblical Integration

How would you explain how I, as a future teacher, will be able to
integrate math and the Bible? I am going to be a Lutheran Elementary
Education teacher and for one of the classes that I am taking I need
to do a paper on how to bring math and the Bible together.

I have searched all different kinds of web sites and nothing has had

Thanks,
Elissa
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Date: 01/25/2002 at 18:35:52
From: Doctor Ian
Subject: Re: Math and Biblical Integration

Hi Elissa,

There's really not much of a connection between math and the Bible, so
anything you do is going to be a bit of a stretch.

The simplest approach, I suppose, would be to treat the stories in the
Bible as your 'real world' when making up math problems. For example:

* If you need to set up a rate-time-distance problem, instead of
talking about trains leaving Chicago and New York, you could ask how
long it would take for a King in a caravan to overtake three wise men
walking by foot.

* If you need to assign a list of numbers to be factored into primes,
you might use the list of ages in Genesis 5.

* For practice in addition and subtraction, you might ask students to
figure out how many years passed between the birth of any two of the
generations of Adam (Enos and Jared, for example). Or you could ask
them to figure out how many of each kind of animal would have to be
sacrificed during a given year according to the rules in Numbers 7.

* For practice in multiplication, you could ask them to figure out how
many seconds are in 40 days and 40 nights, or how much wood would have
been needed to build Noah's ark. Or, when Jesus says that one should
forgive his brother 70 times 7 times, you could ask the students to
work out how long, in years, that would take at a rate of one
forgiveness per week.

* For practice in geometry, you might ask them to figure out how much
rain would be required to cover the entire earth to the height of
Mount Ararat. (That would give them practice looking up geographical
facts as well, such as the radius of the earth and the heights of
mountains.)

* For practice in exponents and logarithms, you could consider things
like how many times four loaves would have to be divided to feed a
multitude of a given size.

For just about any math problem that you could find in a standard
textbook, it should be straightforward to translate it into a
situation involving the the characters and events in the Bible.

Ideally, you could let your students help out. Once you've introduced
a new concept (say, multiplication) that you'll be studying, let
_them_ search for potential problem material. That way, they'll be
reading the Bible while they search, which will give them more
familiarity with the text; and helping to make up their own problems
will give them deeper insight into the math that they're learning. I
don't think you could hope for more integration than that.

Does this help?

- Doctor Ian, The Math Forum
http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
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Date: 01/26/2002 at 09:07:21
From: Elissa
Subject: Math and Biblical Integration

Thank you, Dr. Math. What you have sent me really helps.

God's blessings,
Elissa Bury
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