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In the Footsteps of Galileo: Observing the Moons of Jupiter
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In the Footsteps of Galileo: Observing the Moons of Jupiter

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Short Description: Students learn about the scientific method and do a simplified version of Galileo's pioneering observations of Jupiter's moons, which similarly supported a new model of our solar system.

Topic: Moons and Rings, Our Evolving Understanding of Our Solar System

Grade Level: 5-8, 9-12

Body: Our Solar System, Jupiter, Europa

Mission: Juno (Jupiter)

Science Education Standards:

Benchmarks

By the end of the 5th grade, students should know that

  • Science is a process of trying to figure out how the world works by making careful observations and trying to make sense of those observations. 1A/E2**
  • Scientists' explanations about what happens in the world come partly from what they observe, partly from what they think. 1B/E3a
  • Sometimes scientists have different explanations for the same set of observations. That usually leads to their making more observations to resolve the differences. 1B/E3bc

By the end of 8th grade, students should know that

  • Scientific knowledge is subject to modification as new information challenges prevailing theories and as a new theory leads to looking at old observations in a new way. 1A/M2
  • Scientific investigations usually involve the collection of relevant data, the use of logical reasoning, and the application of imagination in devising hypotheses and explanations to make sense of the collected data. 1B/M1b*

By the end of 12th grade, students should know that

  • From time to time, major shifts occur in the scientific view of how things work. More often, however, the changes that take place in the body of scientific knowledge are small modifications of prior knowledge. Continuity and change are persistent features of science. 1A/H2*
  • No matter how well one theory fits observations, a new theory might fit them just as well or better, or might fit a wider range of observations. 1A/H3a
  • In science, the testing, revising and occasional discarding of theories, new and old, never ends. This ongoing process leads to a better understanding of how things work in the world, but not to absolute truth. 1A/H3bc*
  • In the short run, new ideas that do not mesh well with mainstream ideas in science often encounter vigorous criticism. 1B/H6a
  • In the long run, theories are judged by the range of observations they explain, how well they explain observations and how useful they are in making accurate predictions. 1B/H6b*
  • New ideas in science are limited by the context in which they are conceived; are often rejected by the scientific establishment; sometimes spring from unexpected findings; and usually grow slowly, through contributions from many investigators. 1B/H7

Source: Astronomical Society of the Pacific


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Last Updated: 16 Apr 2014