the University of Chicago Digital Library Development Center
the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum
This teaching module, part of the University of Chicago Internet Project, explores astronomy from the cultural context of past societies and their observations of the heavens. What sorts of phenomena did they observe and how did these observations impact their everyday lives?
The module provides a unique way to study the moon, sun, solar system, and stars within a cross-curricular framework that includes history, cultural anthropology, physical science, and mathematics. Teachers will find lesson plans, image sets of physical phenomena, a multimedia gallery, and extension activities.
eCUIP is a digital library project developed as a collaboration between Chicago Public Schools and the University of Chicago.
3-5: 4B/E2bc. The rotation of the earth on its axis every 24 hours produces the night-and-day cycle. To people on earth, this turning of the planet makes it seem as though the sun, moon, planets, and stars are orbiting the earth once a day.
6-8: 4B/M5. The moon's orbit around the earth once in about 28 days changes what part of the moon is lighted by the sun and how much of that part can be seen from the earth- the phases of the moon.
6-8: 4F/M3b. If a force acts towards a single center, the object's path may curve into an orbit around the center.
9-12: 4F/H2. All motion is relative to whatever frame of reference is chosen, for there is no motionless frame from which to judge all motion.
4G. Forces of Nature
6-8: 4G/M2. The sun's gravitational pull holds the earth and other planets in their orbits, just as the planets' gravitational pull keeps their moons in orbit around them.
10. Historical Perspectives
10A. Displacing the Earth from the Center of the Universe
9-12: 10A/H1. To someone standing on the earth, it seems as if it is large and stationary and that all other objects in the sky orbit around it. That perception was the basis for theories of how the universe is organized that prevailed for over 2,000 years.
9-12: 10A/H2. Ptolemy, an Egyptian astronomer living in the second century A.D., devised a powerful mathematical model of the universe based on continuous motion in perfect circles, and in circles on circles. With the model, he was able to predict the motions of the sun, moon, and stars, and even of the irregular "wandering stars" now called planets.
9-12: 10A/H3. In the 1500s, a Polish astronomer named Copernicus suggested that all those same motions could be explained by imagining that the earth was turning around once a day and orbiting around the sun once a year. This explanation was rejected by nearly everyone because it violated common sense and required the universe to be unbelievably large. Worse, it flew in the face of the belief, universally held at the time, that the earth was at the center of the universe.
9-12: 10A/H5. Using the newly invented telescope to study the sky, Galileo made many discoveries that supported the ideas of Copernicus. It was Galileo who found the moons of Jupiter, sunspots, craters and mountains on the moon, and many more stars than were visible to the unaided eye.
10B. Uniting the Heavens and Earth
9-12: 10B/H3. The Newtonian system made it possible to account for such diverse phenomena as tides, the orbits of planets and moons, the motion of falling objects, and the earth's equatorial bulge.
11. Common Themes
6-8: 11B/M1. Models are often used to think about processes that happen too slowly, too quickly, or on too small a scale to observe directly. They are also used for processes that are too vast, too complex, or too dangerous to study.
6-8: 11B/M4. Simulations are often useful in modeling events and processes.
9-12: 11B/H3. The usefulness of a model can be tested by comparing its predictions to actual observations in the real world. But a close match does not necessarily mean that other models would not work equally well or better.
<a href="http://www.compadre.org/portal/items/detail.cfm?ID=11543">Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum, and University of Chicago Digital Library Development Center. eCUIP Project: Cultural Astronomy -- Bringing the Heavens to Earth. June 30, 2012.</a>
Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum, and University of Chicago Digital Library Development Center. eCUIP Project: Cultural Astronomy -- Bringing the Heavens to Earth. June 30, 2012. http://ecuip.lib.uchicago.edu/diglib/science/cultural_astronomy/index.html (accessed 29 August 2014).
eCUIP Project: Cultural Astronomy -- Bringing the Heavens to Earth. 2002. 30 June 2012. Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum, and University of Chicago Digital Library Development Center. 29 Aug. 2014 <http://ecuip.lib.uchicago.edu/diglib/science/cultural_astronomy/index.html>.
%0 Electronic Source %D June 30, 2012 %T eCUIP Project: Cultural Astronomy -- Bringing the Heavens to Earth %V 2014 %N 29 August 2014 %8 June 30, 2012 %9 text/html %U http://ecuip.lib.uchicago.edu/diglib/science/cultural_astronomy/index.html
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