In Mrs. VanderTill’s Geometry class, there was an unexpected conversation happening around polygons. One could hear a student share, “Our faith journey is not something that happens in growth spurts and relapses. It is constantly happening.” The students shared their reflections on drawn polygons, which are geometric shapes that consist of straight lines and angles known as vertex points. In this project, the study of geometry went beyond the plane of numbers and degrees to include the spiritual journey of the students.
Since a polygon is a shape with varying angles, Mrs. VanderTill wanted her students to reflect on their spiritual journey. Each vertex point was a significant moment in the students’ lives where they experienced a hardship, a loss, or a formative event. The degree of the vertex point correlated with the degree of significance of the event: switching schools may be 130 degrees, while the loss of a parent may be 60 degrees.
The students used images, colors, and symbols to showcase their spiritual journey. After creating the geometric shape, the students had an opportunity to share their journey with a parent or mentor. The students reflected on how significant events shaped their parents’ and mentors’ faith as well. The students witnessed the testimony of others to see how experiences shaped lives. One student observed, “My polygon will have more vertex points as I get older because my parents are still growing as I am still growing.”
Through this project, students had a visual representation that illustrates how God is continually working in their lives. One student reflected, “You feel like you’re at the bottom and there’s no hope. There still is, and God will still shine through even when it seems hopeless.” Proverbs 6:5-6 states, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” The students see through their polygons how even in the hopeless and difficult angles in life, God was in the process of making paths straight. Each vertex point led to a straight line.
In Mrs. VanderTill’s Geometry class, students had an opportunity to not only learn about how to measure varying degrees in a polygon, but also create a visual representation of how God was always present through the difficult, challenging, and uncharted experiences. The students were able to be reminded to trust in God with all of their hearts, because, as they saw in their polygons, God made paths straight.—Ryan Vanden Heuvel, English Teacher & TfT Lead