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ByDesign Biology: Brianna’s Story (Part 1)

March 8, 2021

By: Kendall Hunt RPD with contributions from the writing and review team of ByDesign Biology

In the fall of 2020, Kendall Hunt (KH) Religious Publishing launched our latest curriculum, a brand-new high school biology program called ByDesign Biology. Already being used in more than 20 classrooms across the country, this faith-based curriculum offers high-quality, research-backed scientific information written and developed by the KH team and contributing writers.

In this two-blog series, we’ll take a look at one teacher’s experience in implementing the ByDesign Biology curriculum this fall, discover her favorite parts of our new faith-based high school biology program, and hear her tips for educators who are adopting ByDesign Biology this year and beyond.

Brianna Johnson has taught for eight years at Pine Tree Academy in Freeport, Maine, a small Seventh-day Adventist institution educating students from pre-K through 12th grade.

She was familiar with the ByDesign Science curriculum for grades 1–8, having used it in her 7th- and 8th-grade science classes. After having provided feedback on the elementary program, she also helped with the editorial process of the ByDesign Biology Teacher Edition.

She was excited for the new curriculum to roll out, she said, because the previous biology textbook that she had been using with her sophomore students “desperately needed to be replaced.” When she began using ByDesign Biology in the fall of 2020, the program more than met her expectations.

“It’s a great resource,” she said. “I’ve been really happy with it.”

Brianna particularly appreciates the religious aspects of our customized science curriculum.

“The first couple chapters . . . I think are fantastic in just setting some framework for worldview and how, quite frankly, tied to a Christian worldview the roots of science are,” she said. “In modern society we see these things as antagonistic, but they stem from the same root.”

Like many of the reviewers and developers of ByDesign Biology, Brianna also praised the way in which the program introduces students of biology to two perspectives: biblical creationism and evolution-based Darwinism. Students learn the history and merits of each approach to understanding life on Earth.

“I love that the textbook doesn’t shy away from . . . what the popular theories are in an evolutionary paradigm,” she said. “It’s not going to say, ‘we don’t talk about what the majority of modern science believes right now.’ Rather, it engages that and challenges some of the underlying assumptions, which I really appreciate because most textbooks give you just enough information to make it seem like it’s ‘case closed’ and don’t talk about the points of difficulty [with evolution].”

By engaging these two perspectives, ByDesign Biology follows in the footsteps of ByDesign Science to communicate an important truth to high school students: being a scientist and being a committed follower of God are not incompatible.

Additionally, the mere presence of two worldviews opens students’ minds to an understanding of the many ways in which our worldviews shape our thoughts, opinions, and actions. This awareness is something that will help them succeed in arenas far beyond the classroom.

“We often don’t, especially in modern society, engage those meta-questions very often,” Brianna said. “Like, ‘How do we know what reality is?’ [or] ‘What worldview gives us a coherent framework?’ We expect that from a philosophy class, not a biology class.”

ByDesign Biology is intentionally crafted to help students address the philosophical issues that arise when one studies faith and science together. Students will benefit from this rigorous level of critical thinking, preparing them for further scientific discoveries throughout high school and beyond!

Join us in our next blog as we discuss what Brianna appreciates about the structure of ByDesign Biology, including some of her favorite specific features of the program!