A small tribute to Johannes Kepler (LS-ES-637)

Context for the implementation

Within the Technology area we have been studying the different types of materials that correspond to this level. We also study the handling techniques for these materials, the most appropriate tools as well as certain safety aspects in their use.

The next thematic unit is the study of structures, but it is a good idea to pause for a small project that will also help us as an introduction to this new topic.

Teacher’s first steps showing materials used, and result of the group that finished first.
José María Díaz Fuentes. CC-BY-SA

Implementing the Learning Scenario

According to our curriculum, this is the first time that our students carry out a project following the guidelines of the Technical Problem-Solving Method. The students were very predisposed to do this work because, in general, they love to do manipulative tasks.

To start and give meaning to the project, the teacher made a brief introduction about the life of Johannes Kepler and his contributions to science (astronomy). Kepler’s time was not very conducive to accepting advanced ideas and his work deserves to be recognized even today. When our students read aspects of his life, they are amazed.

We were working 8 hours of class. The Technical Problem-Solving Method requires following the necessary guidelines to prepare a good project following a well-ordered methodology over time. Presentation of the problem, search for information, design, planning of materials, tools and tasks, construction, verification, and failure analysis.

Afterthoughts:

As I said, it is the first time that the students consider a problem like this, and sometimes they mess up the working method trying to do things faster. They often make mistakes that force them to start some tasks all over again. But the truth is that they want their project to have an end that meets the objectives and they do not get discouraged during the work.

There are certain tasks that students can do at home (documentation, for example) and during class time the teacher can advise individually and in groups.

Students and teacher sharing the result of the activity. José María Díaz Fuentes. CC-BY-SA

On Europeana Resources:

There are several resources on Kepler available in Europeana. We used, among others the following:

  • Portrait of Kepler
  • Book about Kepler – Written in German and with many images. In its first pages, we can find a portrait of Keppler that is very similar to others found in other sources (Wikipedia, for example). This enhances the need to check sources of information (an important skill for students). On page 133 of the book, you can see references to the Platonic solids, and on page 140 the image that inspired us in our project.
  • Image of Kepler’s artifact of the spheres

Would you like to know more about this learning scenario? You can download it below:

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CC0 1.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Virtual Library of the Ministry of Defense.

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