Galileo Activities & Games

Instructor: Nora Jarvis

Nora has a Master's degree in teaching, and has taught a variety of elementary grades.

Galileo was a man of many different skills: he was a scientist, inventor, mathematician, and physicist. Use the following activities and games to help your students explore this innovative man and his work.

Who was Galileo?

Many of the things we take for granted now, like that the sun is the center of the universe, were discovered by Galileo. He also discovered the rings of Saturn, invented the telescope, and experimented with gravity. He's referred to as the Father of Modern Science because of his research and inventions.

As your students learn about Galileo and his contributions to our modern understanding of the way the world works, you'll want to find engaging activities for them to do. It's important to help them analyze Galileo's inventions and his role in the development of modern science. The following activities and games will give your students an opportunity to learn about this historical figure in an exciting way.

Invention Research

Have your students choose an invention created by Galileo to research. You might suggest the telescope or the compass. Have your students research these inventions and give a detailed description of the different stages each invention took. Your students can decide how they'd like to share their findings. They might create a poster, a slide show, or even make up a song about the invention. Have your students share their research with the class and take questions from their classmates.

What Would Galileo Do?

Divide your students into pairs and have them develop an idea for an invention that Galileo might come up with in modern times. Before beginning the projects, discuss with your students the areas that interested Galileo. They might talk about how Galileo was interested in physics and astronomy. Your students' invention should be in an area they think Galileo would still be working in. Each pair should make a diagram of their invention, and explain how they think Galileo would come up with this invention today.

Galileo on Trial

With your class, organize a mock trial to simulate Galileo's trial. Have your students research Galileo's idea that the sun was the center of the universe as well as people's reactions to his idea. Assign your students a variety of roles: member of the jury, lawyers, and witnesses. You may consider assigning the role of the judge to yourself, or one of your students depending on ability. Once your students get their roles, they should prepare by developing questions they might ask or answers to questions they might be asked while on the stand. Start the mock trial and put your students' research to the test!

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