The material in "From Stargazers to Starships" meets several important requirements of the national standards. |
Pages cited below are from National Science Education Standards National Academy Press, Washington 1995.
(1) "Stargazers" is inquiry based. As stated (p. 174)|
This approach is the main thread of the entire course. Scientific explanations are always presented with the rationale behind them, and often with their story of discovery. For instance:
(2) "Stargazers" consistently covers "Motions and Forces" (p. 179).
(3) "Stargazers" thoroughly integrates science and technology (p 190).
(4) "Stargazers" extensively incorporates the history of science. (p. 200),
For example: the sections on astronomy not only describe calendars and sundials (including their construction), but also the astronomy of the ancient Greeks, including two different ways in which ancient Greeks estimated the distance to the Moon. Students are then given an opportunity to duplicate one of them, using data of the total solar eclipse of 11 August, 1999.
Further along, the story of Newton's apple is traced to its 17th century origins, Robert Goddard's development of the modern rocket is described, including the way he used a ballistic pendulum to measure rocket efficiency. As a side-trip connected to the discussion of the planetary gravity-assist (itself a demonstration of an elastic collision), the story is told of the Pelton water turbine, invented in the California gold fields.
Many other such stories and examples are included.
Consider the question of the size and shape of the Earth, presented in the "National Standards" book (page 215) as an example of an inquiry-based study. It is also covered in detail by "Stargazers." The concept of the horizon is not only described, but the distance of the horizon is calculated as an application of Pythagoras' theorem (derived independently and quickly in an appendix) and is illustrated by the story of Zebulon Pike first observing Pike's Peak in Colorado. The early estimate of the Earth's size by Eratosthenes is described (with references to other early estimates, including the idea of sailing west to India which first emerged in ancient Rome), and in this context, the voyage of Columbus is described.
(5) "In historical perspective, science has been practiced by
And the international character of science is clearly presented. For instance, the student learns that electromagnetism was discovered by Oersted in Denmark, was explained by Ampere in France, developed by Faraday in England, electromagnetic waves were then proposed by Maxwell who who was Scotch, and they were first generated by Hertz in Germany
Author and Curator: Dr. David P. Stern
Mail to Dr.Stern: stargaze("at" symbol)phy6.org .
Last updated 25 November 2001