# LESSON PLAN by X30B9b

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```									                                                      Chapter One, The History of Astronomy

LESSON PLAN

PART I

Title: Astronomy and the Renaissance
Instructional Methods
Informal Lecture with Discussion, Individual Writing and Reflection, Individual and Group
Activities, Small Group Discussions, Internet Research, and Reading
Materials
Exploring Space: The High Frontier Textbook
Activities Worksheets
Resources
PowerPoint Presentation on Instructor Guide (IG) CD
Computers with Internet Access
Classroom Performance System (CPS)
Student Preparation:
Reading Assignment: Chapter 1, Lesson 2 - Astronomy and the Renaissance
Homework Assignment: Read Textbook Chapter 1, Lesson 3
Assessment/Evaluation:
CPS Questions
CPS Vocabulary on the IG CD
Quick Write
Discussion/Questions
CPS Test Files on IG CD

National Science Education Standards (NSES)
Content Standard B: Physical Science
 Motions and forces
Content Standard D: Earth and Space Science
 Energy in the Earth system
Content Standard G: History and Nature of Science
 Science as a human endeavor
 Nature of scientific knowledge
 Historical perspectives
National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NETS●S) (Technology Activity)
6. Technology Operations and Concepts
a. Understand and use technology systems
b. Select and use applications effectively and productively

Lesson Objectives:
1. Know about Copernicus and the Sun-Centered Model
2. Know Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion

Samples of Behavior/Main Points
1. Describe the reasons Copernicus searched for a better model
2. Explain the heliocentric system proposed by Copernicus

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Chapter One, The History of Astronomy

3.   List three scientific reasons that the Copernican Model is better than the Ptolemaic model
4.   Describe the methods of observation Tycho Brahe used in measuring planetary motion
5.   Explain the significance of an ellipse for Kepler’s laws of planetary motion
6.   Explain the speed of planetary movement at the nearest and farthest point from the Sun
7.   Describe how Kepler’s third law of planetary motion implied the force of gravity

Strategy: This lesson covers advancements in the study of astronomy that occurred during the
Renaissance. These discoveries and theories, although not all correct, laid an important
foundation for the study of astronomy.

Preparation:
 Review the entire lesson plan (recommend trial run through PowerPoint, Internet URLs, and
use of CPS)
 Gather any materials necessary for the activities
 Make copies of all activity worksheets for the students
 Have computers with Internet connection and speakers available, if possible
 Thoroughly read the technology enrichment activity and complete any pre-class preparation
for it

Part IIA—Exploration: Begin the lesson with the CPS self-assessment and focusing questions.
Then complete the Quick Write reading/writing activity. During the presentation, provide a
mini-lecture to introduce an overview of the lesson content.

Part IIB—Engagement: Use all or some of the following activities with CPS if applicable;
review them for detailed instructions:

1.   Knowledge Review: Astronomy and the Renaissance
2.   Group Application Activity: Drawing Ellipses
3.   Group Application Activity: Your Own Ancient Observatory
4.   Technology Enrichment: The Earth’s Seasons

Part IIC—Wrap-Up: Review the material, and then reinforce it with the CPS review and transfer
of learning questions to judge the student’s comprehension of the material

Evaluation: Refer to the IG CD for the lesson test files

Lesson Two, Astronomy and the Renaissance

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Chapter One, The History of Astronomy

Lesson Outline:

1. Part IIA—Exploration (25 min)
a. Overview
b. Quick Write
c. Informal Lecture

2. Part IIB—Engagement (50 min)
a. Activities
b. Assessments

3. Part IIC—Wrap-Up (15 min)
a. Review
b. Conclusion

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Chapter One, The History of Astronomy

PART II

PART IIA—EXPLORATION

ATTENTION
The Renaissance was a time of great cultural flowering in
Europe, and an exciting period of new developments and
discoveries in the arts and sciences. The study of
astronomy also advanced during this time.

CPS Warm-Up Questions (1 – 2)
Note to teacher: Ask the following questions using the
CPS:

topic area?
a. Expert – I have done a lot of reading in this area
b. Above Average – I have learned some
c. Moderate – I know a little about this topic.
d. Rookie – I am a blank slate … but ready to
learn.

2. Astronomers had the use of telescopes during the
Renaissance.
a. True
b. False (p. 22)

MOTIVATION
Today, we are going to talk about how the study of
astronomy advanced during the Renaissance.

LESSON OVERVIEW
Today, we’ll cover the following topics:
1. Copernicus and the Sun-Centered Model
2. Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion

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Chapter One, The History of Astronomy

QUICK WRITE WITH CPS
Note to teacher: Have the students read/review the opening
story in the lesson. Then have them write a response to the
Quick Write on a separate piece of paper. Use “Pick a
Student” button in CPS to select 2 -3 students to share their

If you were Tycho, how would you have argued for the
kind of observatory you wanted from the king?

PRESENTATION

1. Copernicus and the Sun-Centered Model

a. Why Copernicus Searched for a Better Model

(1) Copernicus found that Ptolemy’s predictions for
the positions of celestial bodies were off from
what he could observe himself – sometimes by
as much as 2 degrees.

(2) Religious beliefs also pushed Copernicus to
investigate a heliocentric or Sun-centered
model that would provide more accurate data
for the Roman Catholic Church calendar,
helping ensure that holy days were observed at
the right time.

(3) The theory of epicycles didn’t adequately
explain the changes in Mars’ brightness.

b. Copernicus’s Heliocentric System

(1) Earth just one of several planets revolving
around the Sun

(2) Plane of the Earth’s equator tilted with respect
to the plane of its orbit around the Sun. This tilt
causes the Earth’s seasons.

(3) Moon revolves around the Earth.

(4) Included relative distances of the planets from
the Sun.

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Chapter One, The History of Astronomy

(5) Earth’s atmosphere simply follows the Earth as
it rotates.

c. Comparing the Copernican Model With the
Ptolemaic

(1) Accuracy of the data: The heliocentric model
provides a logical explanation for the observed
motions of the stars, the Moon, and the planets.
However, using the evidence available in the
1500s, the models score about even.
Copernicus was not really better at predicting
planetary motion than Ptolemy.

(2) Predictive power: Both models made testable
predictions. Again on this criterion, the two
models are in a tie.

(3) Simplicity: Here’s where Copernicus pulls
ahead of Ptolemy. Copernicus was able to
explain the motions of all the planets without
epicycles and without introducing a special rule
for just two planets.

2. Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion

a. Tycho Brahe’s Observations of Planetary Motion

(1) As Tycho (1571-1630) began to study
astronomy, the big question he faced was
whether Ptolemy or Copernicus had the correct
model of the universe.

(2) Tycho’s observations didn’t confirm the more
recent Copernican model, however.

(3) If the Earth orbited the Sun, then the nearby
stars would show parallax, and they did not as
far as sixteenth-century astronomers could tell.

(4) Tycho’s model put the Earth at the center of the
Sun’s orbit, but had other planets orbiting the
Sun.

(5) You might say he came to a wrong conclusion
but for a good reason.

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Chapter One, The History of Astronomy

b. Kepler’s First Law: The Significance of the Ellipse

(1) Kepler took over most of Tycho’s records after
he died. Kepler kept trying to devise a system
of circles and epicycles that would accurately
predict the positions of Mars.

(2) But the shape that finally fit the data, Kepler
found, was the ellipse. An ellipse is a
geometrical shape of which every point is the
same total distance from two fixed points, or
foci.

(2) Kepler’s First Law of Planetary Motion holds
that each planet’s path around the Sun is an
ellipse, with the Sun at one focus of the ellipse.

c. The Second Law: The Planets’ Changing Speeds

(1) Kepler’s second law tells us about a planet’s
speed as it moves around the Sun.

(2) He found that a planet speeds up when it is
closer to the Sun, and slows down when it is
farther away.

(3) “A planet moves along its elliptical path with a
speed that changes so that a line from the planet
to the Sun sweeps over equal areas in equal
intervals of time.”

d. How Kepler’s Third Law Implied the Force of
Gravity

(1) Kepler hypothesized that a force held the
planets near the Sun—the force today known as
gravity.

(2) He also thought another force swept the planets
around the Sun. The sweeping force doesn’t
really exist.

(3) The idea later led Sir Isaac Newton to discover
the forces that do exist (gravity).

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Chapter One, The History of Astronomy

(4) Kepler’s third law is sometimes known as the
Harmonic Law. It expresses a relationship
between the time a planet takes to orbit the Sun
and its distance from the Sun.

CPS Learning Check Questions (3 - 4)
Note to teacher: Ask the following questions using the
CPS:

3. Which astronomer first hypothesized a Heliocentric
system?
A. Tycho
B. Kepler
C. Copernicus (p. 21)
D. Aristarchus

4. How many laws did Kepler create?
A. One
B. Two
C. Three (pp. 27, 28, 29)
D. Four

PART IIB—ENGAGEMENT

Note to teacher: All student handouts and answer keys for
the activities are following the “Checkpoints” answers at
the end of the lesson.

Activity 1: Astronomy and the Renaissance

Instructions for the teacher:

1. This is an individual activity. It enables the student to
review the material and vocabulary terms from the
lesson.

2. Hand out worksheet at the end of this lesson.

3. Instruct students to either complete the sentence or
answer the questions provided using pages 21-29 from
the textbook.

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Chapter One, The History of Astronomy

Instructions for students:

Use your textbook to identify the terms and people to
complete the sentence or answer the question provided
using complete sentences. Refer to pages 21-29 in the
textbook.

Activity 2: Drawing Ellipses

Instructions for the teacher:

1. This is a group activity. It enables students to discern
the difference between an ellipse and a circle.

2. Hand out copies of the student worksheet located at the
end of this lesson.

3. Divide the class into groups of three. Give each group
the required materials:
 Cardboard, cut into 3 equal parts - One per team
 Thumb tacks – Two per team
 String
 Pen, pencil

4. Instruct each group to follow the directions on the
worksheet for drawing ellipses.

5. Have students discuss their findings and compare the
cardboard drawings from each group.

Instructions for students:

1. Complete the activity by following the step-by-step
directions on your worksheet.

questions. Be prepared to share your findings with the
class.

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Chapter One, The History of Astronomy

Activity 3: Your Own Ancient Observatory

Instructions for the teacher:

1. This is a group activity. It enables students to assess
what tools were available to astronomers during the
Renaissance and allows them to be creative.

2. Hand out copies of the student worksheet at the end of
this lesson.

3. Divide the class into groups of 3-4 students.

4. Instruct students to follow the directions on the
worksheet. Have them work in their assigned groups to
complete the activity.

5. When complete, have students share their answers.
Some answers are included on the answer sheet but
they may come up with additional, very creative

Instructions for students:

1. In your assigned groups, complete the worksheet about
the tools that ancient astronomers used.

2. Be creative, but realistic with the tools you come up
with. Be prepared to share your answers.

Technology Enrichment: The Earth’s Seasons

Instructions for the teacher:

Groups of students will watch two short videos and answer
some short questions about each one. Then, they will
practice explaining to each other why the Earth’s seasons
change. Make sure that the video clips are in working
order and that sound is available on the computers.

1. Divide the class into small groups of 2-3.

2. Hand out copies of the student worksheet located at the
end of this lesson.

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Chapter One, The History of Astronomy

3. Instruct students to answer the questions and then create
a brief script for their own video to explain why the
Earth’s seasons change. Optional: If time permits, have
students use Windows Movie Maker and use their
scripts to create videos.

4. Have one person from each group share their script (or
play student videos for the whole class).

Instructions for students:

1. Watch the video clips and answer the questions on the
worksheet.

2. Write a brief script as if for your own video about why
the Earth’s seasons change. Be prepared to share your
answers with the class.

PART IIC—WRAP UP

REVIEW
 Copernicus’s Heliocentric system put Earth as just one
of several planets revolving around the Sun
 Tycho’s observations didn’t confirm the more recent
Copernican model, however
 Kepler’s First Law of Planetary Motion holds that each
planet’s path around the Sun is an ellipse
 Kepler’s second law tells us about a planet’s speed as it
moves around the Sun
 Kepler’s third law implied the force of gravity

CPS Review Questions (5 - 6)
Note to teacher: Have the students write a response on a
sheet of paper. Then use the “Pick a Student” button in
CPS to select 2 -3 students to share their answers with the
class.

5. Since Kepler could not observe the heavens himself
because of a childhood disease that left him with very
poor eyesight, how was he able to contribute to the
study of astronomy?

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Chapter One, The History of Astronomy

He made sense of the data collected by others. (p. 25)

(Note to teacher: Use “Pick a Student” button in CPS)

6. What are some of the theories of astronomy from this
lesson that are still applicable today?

Student answers will vary, but answers could include
theories of planetary motion, such as gravity.

(Note to teacher: Use “Pick a Student” button in CPS)

SUMMARY
In this lesson, we discussed the following:
1. Copernicus and the Sun-Centered Model
2. Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion

REMOTIVATION
The Renaissance brought about many advances in science,
including astronomy. Copernicus, Tycho, and Kepler set
the stage for the modern breakthroughs in astronomy and
physics.

CLOSURE
Today, you have learned about Astronomy and the
Renaissance. Next, you’ll learn about The Enlightenment
and Modern Astronomy.

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