Ch 9: The Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment: AP European History Lesson Plans

About This Chapter

The Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment chapter of this course is designed to help you plan and teach about early breakthroughs in science and philosophy 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 Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment 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
MondayScience during the EnlightenmentThe Pre-scientific revolution, the Ptolemaic system, Tycho Brahe's and Copernicus' theories of the universe and discoveries of Isaac Newton and other scientists during the Enlightenment
TuesdayReason and religion during the Enlightenment Conflicts between science and religion, including the role of Thomas Aquinas; response of the Catholic Church to Galileo and contributions of Rene Descartes to philosophy and religion
WednesdayEnlightened thinkers Examples of enlightened ideas, legacies of Francis Bacon, Denis Diderot and Blaise Pascal
ThursdayLegal and political thinkers during the Enlightenment Cesare Beccaria, Baron de Montesquieu and Thomas Hobbes
Friday Germans, Scots and women during the Enlightenment Hume, Smith and other Scots who contributed to the Enlightenment; life and work of Immanuel Kant and role of women thinkers during the Enlightenment

19 Lessons in Chapter 9: The Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment: AP European History Lesson Plans
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Pre-Scientific Revolution: Logic, Reason & Scientific Experimentation

1. Pre-Scientific Revolution: Logic, Reason & Scientific Experimentation

In this lesson, we explore the reasons behind the typical narrative surrounding the Middle Ages and the advances in reason and science made during this period.

Thomas Aquinas' Influence on the Catholic Church

2. Thomas Aquinas' Influence on the Catholic Church

St. Thomas Aquinas was perhaps the most important figure of the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages. This lesson examines what he did to help protect the Church against a rebirth of critical thinking by using critical thinking to defend the Church.

Ptolemy and the Ptolemaic System

3. Ptolemy and the Ptolemaic System

In this lesson, we explore the work of the ancient Greco-Egyptian philosopher, mathematician, and astronomer, Ptolemy, whose system explaining the structure of the universe was believed for centuries.

Tycho Brahe and Copernicus Take On the Known Universe

4. Tycho Brahe and Copernicus Take On the Known Universe

Astronomy according to Ptolemy was the popular theory until Copernicus turned it on its head. This lesson explores the theories of Copernicus and Brahe and how the two changed astronomical study.

Galileo, the Telescope & the Church

5. 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.

Science During the Enlightenment Period: Innovations, Discoveries & Major Figures

6. Science During the Enlightenment Period: Innovations, Discoveries & Major Figures

In this lesson, we will learn about the Scientific Revolution that preceded the Enlightenment. We will highlight the major themes, innovations, discoveries, and figures associated with this revolution in science.

Rene Descartes and the Union of Religion and Philosophy

7. Rene Descartes and the Union of Religion and Philosophy

This lesson explores the beliefs and works of Rene Descartes and how he explained the relationship between the mind and body as well as religion and science.

Francis Bacon: History, Ideas and Legacy

8. Francis Bacon: History, Ideas and Legacy

This lesson examines the contributions of Sir Francis Bacon to science. We take a long hard look at the scientific method, with special emphasis on experimental science. Then we briefly examine how Bacon sold science to the world.

Blaise Pascal: Biography & Contributions to Science and Philosophy

9. Blaise Pascal: Biography & Contributions to Science and Philosophy

In this lesson, we will learn about the 17th-century French mathematician, scientist, and philosopher Blaise Pascal, who invented a rudimentary calculator in addition to making significant contributions to math and philosophy.

Thomas Hobbes: Absolutism, Politics & Famous Works

10. Thomas Hobbes: Absolutism, Politics & Famous Works

In this lesson, we discuss one the key political theorists of the 17th century, the Englishman Thomas Hobbes, whose theories concerning absolutism, the basis of government, and human nature still resonate to this day.

The Enlightenment Thinkers & Their Ideas

11. The Enlightenment Thinkers & Their Ideas

In this lesson, we discuss the varied and diverse 18th-century intellectual movement known as the Enlightenment. In addition to exploring its background and nature, we highlight several of the era's chief philosophers and their ideas.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Philosophy and Legacy

12. Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Philosophy and Legacy

In this lesson, we will learn about a famous philosopher named Jean-Jacques Rousseau. We will understand the specific views he advanced and identify his contributions to the field of philosophy.

Immanuel Kant: Biography & German Enlightenment

13. Immanuel Kant: Biography & German Enlightenment

In this lesson, we explore the life and philosophy of arguably the German Enlightenment's greatest philosopher, Immanuel Kant, and his theories concerning ethics.

Baron de Montesquieu: Biography, Theories & Philosophy

14. Baron de Montesquieu: Biography, Theories & Philosophy

In this lesson, we explore the life and theories of the the French Enlightenment's foremost political theorist, Charles-Louis de Secondat - more commonly known as Montesquieu.

Denis Diderot and the Encyclopedia

15. Denis Diderot and the Encyclopedia

In this lesson, we explore the life of the 18th-century French philosopher Denis Diderot and the project that eventually consumed over 30 years of his life, the Encyclopedia.

Scottish Enlightenment: Hume, Smith, and Others

16. Scottish Enlightenment: Hume, Smith, and Others

In this lesson, we discuss several leading thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment, including its two giants, the philosophers David Hume and Adam Smith.

Cesare Beccaria: Theories, Impact & Jurisprudence

17. Cesare Beccaria: Theories, Impact & Jurisprudence

In this lesson, we explore the life and theories of the Italian man who first formulated many of the theories upon which our modern penal systems operate: Cesare Beccaria.

Women During the Enlightenment: Roles & Treatment

18. Women During the Enlightenment: Roles & Treatment

In this lesson, we explore the traditional gender roles for women in 18th century Europe and how the Enlightenment affected attitudes that encouraged future change.

The Scientific Revolution: Timeline, Breakthroughs & Effects

19. The Scientific Revolution: Timeline, Breakthroughs & Effects

In this lesson, you will explore the period when Western society first turned to science as the new way of thinking, called the Scientific Revolution. Then, test your understanding with a brief quiz.

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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Other Chapters

Other chapters within the AP European History Syllabus Resource & Lesson Plans course

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