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Ch 1: The History of Astronomy Lesson Plans

About This Chapter

The History of Astronomy chapter of this course is designed to help you plan and teach the study of astronomy through the years in your classroom. The video lessons, quizzes and transcripts can easily be adapted to provide your lesson plans with engaging and dynamic educational content. Make planning your course easier by using our syllabus as a guide.

Weekly Syllabus

Below is a sample breakdown of the History of Astronomy chapter into a 5-day school week. Based on the pace of your course, you may need to adapt the lesson plan to fit your needs.

DayTopicsKey Terms and Concepts Covered
MondayThe field of astronomy
Astronomy in ancient times
How the ancients told time
Description of the study of astronomy, cosmology, types of astronomy, including planetary and theoretical astronomy
Astronomical study in ancient societies, including in Babylon and in the Mayan culture
Ways to keep track of days or time of day, horizon calendar, sundial
Tuesday Astrology
The Zodiac constellations
The constellations
Difference between astrology and astronomy, pseudoscience, Nostradamus
Signs of the Zodiac and their positions in the sky, horoscopes
How the constellations got their names, modern constellation, asterism
WednesdayThe lunar calendar
The week and astronomical objects
Julian and Gregorian calendars
The Metonic cycle, intercalation, lunation
How the days of the week got their names
Why, how and when the Julian and Gregorian calendars were devised
ThursdayModels of the universe
The Copernican Revolution
Tycho Brahe's work
Geocentric and heliocentric models of the solar system, Ptolemy, first principle, uniform circular motion
Nicolaus Copernicus's proposal of a heliocentric solar system
Tycho Brahe's geo-heliocentric model of the universe, parallax
FridayKepler's Laws of Planetary Motion
Galileo, the church and the telescope
Isaac Newton's work with astronomy
Kepler's three laws and their effect on the orbits of planets, asteroids and comets, calculations of the orbital radius from the orbital period
The falling bodies experiment, improvements on the telescope, conflict with the church
Newton's biography, Newton's laws of motion, law of universal gravitation, mass

16 Lessons in Chapter 1: The History of Astronomy Lesson Plans
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
The Scientific Field of Astronomy

1. The Scientific Field of Astronomy

Space is a large and exciting place, full of things we have yet to discover. Astronomy aims to uncover the mysteries of space, something people have been fascinated with as long as they have been on Earth.

The Ancient Study of Astronomy

2. The Ancient Study of Astronomy

This lesson will teach you about three important cultures and civilizations that contributed much to our understanding of astronomy. They include the Babylonians, Maya, and Greeks.

The Constellations: Definition & Name Origins

3. The Constellations: Definition & Name Origins

This lesson will teach you about ancient constellations and how they came to be. We'll define modern constellations and learn why they're important. You'll also learn about the differences between a constellation and an asterism.

What is Astrology?

4. What is Astrology?

This lesson will teach you about astrology, tell you if it's the same thing as astronomy, why or why not, and discuss the reasons astrology is so good at predicting so many different things. I predict that you might enjoy this lesson.

The Zodiac Constellations & Their Visibility in the Sky

5. The Zodiac Constellations & Their Visibility in the Sky

The zodiac is a concept that spans thousands of years. You'll learn how the zodiac and the ecliptic are related, as well as the origin of the horoscope, in this lesson.

Telling Time in Ancient Times

6. Telling Time in Ancient Times

This lesson will explore the concepts of time and telling time in ancient history, including the lunar phase cycle, the calendar, the sundial, and how ancient people viewed time compared to us.

The Lunar Calendar & Metonic Cycle

7. The Lunar Calendar & Metonic Cycle

This lesson will discuss the lunar calendar, luni-solar calendar, the Metonic cycle, and how they relate to keeping time in the ancient world and even some calendars today.

The Connection Between the Seven Days of the Week & Astronomical Objects

8. The Connection Between the Seven Days of the Week & Astronomical Objects

This lesson will explain to you why the English language has its current names for its days of the week and what Roman gods and Anglo-Saxons have to do with it.

Geocentric, Heliocentric & Ptolemaic Models of the Universe

9. Geocentric, Heliocentric & Ptolemaic Models of the Universe

This lesson will lay out for you how ancient Greek philosophers came up with their models of the universe,. We'll also look at who Ptolemy was and what he contributed, and whether or not the Greeks were correct.

The Copernican Revolution

10. The Copernican Revolution

This lesson will discuss a famous astronomer by the name of Nicolaus Copernicus, his early history, his revolutionary idea, and why his model of the universe was actually wrong.

Tycho Brahe's Contribution to Astronomy

11. Tycho Brahe's Contribution to Astronomy

There was a man who did not believe Ptolemy's version of the universe nor did he believe in Copernicus's views on the universe. Who was this daring man? He was Tycho Brahe. We'll learn about him in this lesson.

Kepler's Three Laws of Planetary Motion

12. Kepler's Three Laws of Planetary Motion

Find out about the interesting life and major contributions of Johannes Kepler. This lesson will also teach you how to find out how long it takes a planet to revolve around the sun!

Galileo, the Telescope & the Church

13. Galileo, the Telescope & the Church

This lesson explores the contributions of Galileo to modern science. It examines his early steps toward a scientific method, his work on falling bodies and, of course, his astronomical discoveries. Finally, the Church's reaction to these discoveries is explored.

Sir Isaac Newton And Astronomy

14. Sir Isaac Newton And Astronomy

This lesson will teach you about Newton's laws of motion and universal gravitation as well as why the moon doesn't fly off into space and why it doesn't crash into the Earth.

Origins of the Julian & Gregorian Calendars

15. Origins of the Julian & Gregorian Calendars

The Julian calendar and Gregorian calendar were both revolutionary in their own right. Find out who's responsible for putting them into place and which one of the two we use today and why.

What is Science? - Definition, Topics & Branches

16. What is Science? - Definition, Topics & Branches

In this lesson, we'll investigate what science really is. We'll cover the different branches of science and provide examples of topics in each branch. Afterward, you should have a good overview of the different types of science we study.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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