Exploring Galileo’s Telescopeby: Samuele Straulino and Alessandra Terzuoli

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In the first months of 2009, the International Year of Astronomy, the authors developed an educational project for middle-level students connected with the first astronomical discoveries that Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) made 400 years ago. The project included the construction of a basic telescope and the observation of the Moon. The project, if completed in full, can be accomplished in about 20 hours over the course of a month.

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  • on Fri Oct 04, 2013 10:14 AM

Educator’s posted these words on the board “study, observe, analyze, experiment, discover, and invent.” These words were used to describe how a scientist works. Students then proceeded to apply these words to understand how a telescope works. The article then goes through the lessons the students engaged in to learn, understand and build a simple telescope using lenses provided by the teacher. Students not only learned how a scientist works but also major concepts associated with light, lenses and telescopes. They also learn the context in which Galileo built his telescope.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Thu Jul 14, 2011 8:19 PM

While this article was written for middle school, I adapted the activity for use with intermediate students with reasonable success. The authors provide a sequence of learning beginning with a crystal and moving to concave and convex lenses. I had students look at a variety of items through both of the lenses and record their observations. To actually build a simple telescope, I went to http://www.hometrainingtools.com/telescope-optical-science-project/a/1248/ and used the instructions from Home Science Tools, since we had the materials here at school we could use. Students were successful in creating their telescopes and were able to give a reasonable description of how “real” telescopes worked. The websites provided were useful to students when doing initial research on telescopes and Galileo. http://brunelleschi.imss.fi.it/esplora/cannocchiale, provides a link to the Institute and Museaum of the History of Science, with several links to history, simulation, explore and resources around Galileo’s telescope. http://galileo.rice.edu/sci/instruments/telescope.html and www.hps.cam.ac.uk/starry/galileo.html provides more advanced sites on Galileo himself.

Sandra Gady  (Renton, WA)
Sandra Gady (Renton, WA)

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