Study Topic Descriptions

       All study topics and their descriptions are subject to change or modification.


Biblical Studies (5 weeks)

Orientation: The Creation Foundation

The first 3 days are a blast of information that will simply be the top of the iceberg to concepts and classes that students will dive into throughout the year. This study topic is a broad introduction to the topic of origins and early Earth history from both science and the Bible. The class consists of the Discover Creation DVD Series and the orientation days to give a broad overview of topics in the Creation vs. Evolution debate.


This overview will give some needed preparation before we take off on the first field trip, but classes will continue on the road as we hit the first checkpoint, Yellowstone National Park. Families and those interested in the Institute may be welcome to join in and learn as we kick off the year. Families and friends can experience the Yellowstone National Park tour before the class itself heads off towards Mt. St. Helens.


Genesis: The Foundation (Genesis 1-11)

This in-depth study of Genesis 1-11 focuses on Creation, the Fall, the Flood, the Dispersion from Babel and God’s plan throughout those periods of time. Within these chapters, there is important history and doctrine that set the foundation for the rest of the Bible.


God at Work in Space and Time Part 1: Old Testament Overview

This class, or study topic, traces the history of the Old Testament people including the nation of Israel through highs and lows. This broad overview will put the Old Testament in perspective by being able to look at the whole thing in one broad sweep. Cultural aspects will be explained and prophecies and references looking ahead to the Messiah will be examined.


God at Work in Space and Time Part 2: Jesus and the Apostles

Transitioning from the Old Testament to the New Testament era, students will dive into the life of Christ, the fulfilled prophecies, cultural aspects, and the regions described in the New Testament. This whirlwind tour through the events of Jesus’ life will help open understanding of the ministry of Jesus and His apostles, what they really taught, and how we are called to live today.


God at Work in Space and Time Part 3: The Ongoing Story

This class transitions from Jesus’ life to the early church and later generations. This class will provide a broad overview of history from Jesus and His apostles till now. This class will study the rise of Christianity, the Dark Ages of Christianity, and the Enlightenment of individual Christianity that led to renewed views of life and science. Students will also study how Christianity has, itself, changed and how it has changed the world in the past few hundreds of years and ultimately since the time of Jesus.



Science (10 weeks)

Foundations of Science

This study topic serves as an overview of the history of science, the relationship between faith and reason, and the power and limitations of the scientific method. Students will learn to differentiate between science and philosophy, between facts and assumptions, and between data and interpretations. Students will learn about how assumptions and one’s worldview can and has shaped how we think about science and our world.


Physical Science & Astronomy

Students will learn about the fundamental laws and interactions of nature along with an introductory overview of the major concepts and historical discoveries of astronomy. They will explore and discuss the importance of recent discoveries about our solar system, our planet, our moon, galaxies, theories of origins, star formation and death, and related concepts. Students will discern what the evidence really is and how it shows the age of our universe.



This introduction to life science includes discussion of the complexity of life (chemistry of life, molecular biology, and genetics), the origin and diversity of life (models of origin, classification systems, overview of major groups of organisms), and the relationships of life (ecology and environmental science). Students will gain an understanding of the design exhibited throughout nature and will examine the evidence for and against the theory of evolution.


Archeology, Ancient Man & Relics of the Past Field Trip*

This study topic is an introduction to the field of archeology including research methods and study of selected sites and findings. Brian Mariani, one of the main researchers and authors of The Genius of Ancient Man, will share his research about sites all over the world. Students will study the origin of human kind, the distribution of various people groups, and their scientific and technological accomplishments, which confirm and strengthen the records and history of the Bible.


This adventure through SE Utah and the Four Corners region focuses primarily on archaeology and ancient history, with some geology and biology lessons included. See firsthand the accomplishments of ancient civilizations. Sites will be selected from Mesa Verde, Hovenweep, Canyon de Chelle and other lesser known sites.


Earth Science

Explore an introductory overview of the major concepts and discoveries in the field of earth science. Students will discuss and learn about tectonics, volcanism, stratification, fossilization, erosion, and the major rock types. Concepts of uniformitarianism, catastrophism, and geologic time will also be covered. This class will be enriched and supplemented by several major field trips (listed separately).


Earth Science Field Study: Fire & Ice*

Discover the wonders of Yellowstone National Park, the Teton Mountains, and the Pacific Northwest, focusing particularly on the geologic processes of volcanism, glaciers, stratification, and erosion. Students will see evidence for the Great Missoula Flood and the Global Flood, along with the intriguing effects of the eruption of Mt St Helens. Points of biology and historical interest will be included along the way.


Earth Science Field Study: Floods of the West*

Discover, explore and wonder at the geologic features of the Southwest, focusing primarily on geology, but also including selected study of biology and human history. Particular emphasis will be given to studying evidences of stratification and erosion. Learn a biblical perspective for the formation of Grand Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, Natural Bridges, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Parks, as well as the intriguing formations at Kodachrome Basin, and much more.



Worldviews and Apologetics (6 weeks)


This study topic introduces the concept, elements and importance of understanding your worldview as well as the worldviews of others. Students will gain valuable perspective in understanding the major worldviews encountered today and will therefore better understand these modern times.



As Christians, we are called to give a defense for our faith. This study topic will equip students to combat common challenges and questions faced in our society today. Students will study the means of argumentation and will discuss some of the major areas of Biblical apologetics.



Research, Communications, and Leadership Development (3 weeks)

Study Skills & Research, Critical Thinking & Common Logical Fallacies

Critical thinking skills and research methods will be emphasized throughout the year in various classes and class projects. This foundational class is designed to equip students with beneficial habits and patterns to think more clearly, to better analyze difficult topics or arguments, and to become better life-long learners. Concepts will be introduced in two weeks early in the scheduled year and methods learned will be integrated and developed throughout the rest of the year and beyond.


Team Building & Leadership Development*

This study topic focuses on personal challenge, group dynamics, and leadership skills. Students will experience the beauty and ruggedness of the natural environment. They will be encouraged to confront fears, explore new ways of meeting challenges, and reflect on their experiences in a personal journal.



Integrated Studies (Ongoing Learning and Experience throughout the year)

Dynamic Communication

This personalized class will be integrated throughout the year through evaluation of various projects. Emphasis will be placed upon the development of clear and effective communication skills, both written and oral. The class is designed to be both practical and relevant to other learning. 


Health & Wellness

Students will be exposed to the benefits of wise choices in personal health and wellness practices through fitness activities, study of basic nutrition, and special topics. Each student will be encouraged to develop a personal health and wellness plan, and keep a journal of progress.


Personal Development

This class will run the entire year and will keep students accountable to their commitments. As part of this class, students will: read the entire Bible in one year, make and accomplish deadlines on projects, submit attitude and Christian behavior assessments, and more.




Outreach and Evangelism (2 weeks)

Creation Evangelism and Ministry

This study topic involves the development of skills and materials for practical ministry, including multimedia presentations, skits, hands-on activities and other student driven ministry techniques. Many of these will be utilized in the Costa Rica outreach and the summer practicum. This will provide great experience for students interested in global missionary outreach. This study topic is an introduction to strategies for reaching believers and nonbelievers with the gospel and a Biblically consistent view of God, His Word, and His creation. Students will learn academic strategies for evangelism with a focus will be on tangible, worthwhile interactions and experiences.


Ministering to Children and Youth

This study topic will help students learn how to engage and interact with the next generation. Students will gain an inside view as to what it takes to plan and facilitate ministry programs to children and youth. Strategies, testimonies, and experiences will provide students with another outlet for ministry.



Practicum (6 weeks)

Summer Practicum

After learning in the classroom and on field trips during the scheduled year, students will then use their experience, their projects, and their knowledge to be actively involved in practical ministry opportunities for 6-8 weeks in the summer. Students will gain experience in communicating, preparing, planning and facilitating ministry activities. There may be many different opportunities to participate in creation ministry outreaches such as facilitating Vacation Bible Schools, serving as counselors and teachers at summer camps (family and/or youth camps), participating with AOI functions, and potential cross-cultural outreaches.



Field Study and Mission Trip (3 weeks)

Costa Rica Adventure*

This combined field study/ministry outreach will be an unforgettable experience. It includes a broad introduction to the diverse ecosystems of Costa Rica, including live volcanoes, tropical rainforests, biological design, ecology, archaeology, and more. An important emphasis in this experience is the cross-cultural ministry that takes us even to the remote areas of the region.



Category Breakdown

Biblical Studies (5 weeks)

Science (10 weeks)

Worldviews and Apologetics (6 weeks)

Research, Communications, and Leadership Development (3 weeks)

Outreach and Evangelism (2 weeks)

Integrated Studies (Ongoing Throughout the Year)

Practicum (6 weeks)

Field Study and Mission Trip (3 weeks)



To see how the study topics fit in the year, check out the year schedule.


*Sites visited may vary due to weather, availability of permits, or other factors.



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