At the age of 12-14, children are learning to analyze and evaluate their knowledge, which is why the overarching goal of a middle-school world history course is to teach children to think like historians. The importance of Scientific Revolution (16-17th centuries) in world history is hard to overestimate. In terms of education, it can be predicted that the study of this period will prove to be quite a groundbreaker for children (just as the Revolution broke the grounds of the world’s order, in real life). The topic of the work unit, therefore, is Scientific Revolution in the context of world history. The approximate length of the unit is two or three weeks. The target audience for the study of this period is 7th grade, or young persons aged 12-14.
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The learning outcomes of the course are constituted by several aspects. Young people will learn how the revolution in human perception of the world triggered the development of science as we know it. They will be able to analyze and discuss the formation of separate branches of science, the role of scientific methods, and the place and impact of religion on the genesis, formation, and development of science.
The students will have a chance to work with primary sources and make their own research on the subject that interests them most, be it the history of electricity (which is thoroughly recorded in books and documentaries in open access), the Inquisitional trials, the first items of scientific equipment, etc.
Learning outcomes to be assessed
By the end of this work unit, the students should be able to:
- Understand the roots of scientific perception of the world
- When did people start to cognize the world from the point of knowledge;
- How did they go about it and in what ways their scientific perception of the world was similar to and differed from the perception of the Revolution
- Understand the significance of the new scientific methods (empiricism, baconian science, experimentation, mathematization, mechanical philosophy, institutionalization, etc.)
- Understand and evaluate the criticality of new works, principles, theories, discoveries and inventions, e.g.:
- Works: Newton’s “Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica”; Boyle’s “The Sceptical Chymist”;
- Principles: laws of motion, gravity, etc.;
- Theories: the genesis of particle theory, Copernicus’s heliocentrism, Kepler’s elliptical motion of planets;
- Discoveries and inventions: static electricity and an electrostatic generator, telescope, thermometer, vacuum pumps, calculating devices, industrial machines, etc.
- Understand, analyze, and evaluate the impact of baconian and other sciences on the ideals of democracy (Hansen & Curtis, 2012);
- Analyze the coexistence of science and religion in the context of 16-17th centuries (Kunh, 2012).
Subject-matter topics to be covered in the 1st week of instruction
- An overview of the Scientific Revolution
- A definition of Scientific Revolution;
- Scientific Renaissance;
- Identification of the key names and their impact
- One can include interesting facts about the personalities of some of the remarkable individuals of the period, e.g., Newton’s unsociable demeanor.
- Bacon and Baconian science
- Methodologies for scientific inquiry
- Empiricism, inductive approach to nature
- Bacon vs. Descartes
- Methodologies for scientific inquiry
- Discoveries and inventions of the early modern period
- Ptolemaic vs. Copernican Universe
- Tycho Brahe’s, Galilean, and Kepler’s measurements that proved Copernicus was closer to the truth;
- Static electricity and an electrostatic generator
- One can include interesting facts about the history of electricity, the struggle of Italian titans (Volta vs. Galvani), the subsequent invention of arch light based on voltaic piles and the impact Galvani’s cadaverous experiments had on literature (Mary Shelley).
- Plato vs. Boyle or alchemy as opposed to chemistry;
- Telescope and its significance
- Other inventions
- Thermometer and its significance
- Vacuum pumps and their impact on chemistry
- Calculating devices (logarithms)
- Industrial machines, e.g., steam digester – the genesis of steam generator.
- Ptolemaic vs. Copernican Universe
- Galileo’s trial as a signature point of Science vs. Religion conflict (Fermi & Bernardini, 2013).
- Religion of Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Boyle, etc., was Christianity;
- Yet, the doctrine of creation could not embrace a world cognized by human beings
- Interesting facts about Einstein’s deism;
- The power of Inquisition: why Revolution was disadvantageous for the Church;
- Church opposition and accusations of heresy.
Test items specification table (Week 1)
|#||Content area||Instructional goals and objectives||Time spent on topic||Percentage of class time spent on topic||Amount of test items||Lower Levels (as per Bloom’s Taxonomy)||Higher Levels (as per Bloom’s Taxonomy)|
|Day 1||Scientific Revolution: an overview||1. Define Scientific Revolution and its roots||20||8.7%||2||2 (Short Answer)|
|2. Identify the key names within ancient times’ science and Scientific Revolution||20||8.7%||1||1 (Multiple Choice)|
|3. Discuss the central figures’ impact on modern science||15||6.5%||1||1 (Short Answer)|
|Day 2||Scientific methods and new ways of research||4. Define baconian scientific method: observation and experiment||20||8.7%||1||1 (Short Answer)|
|5. Analyse the contradiction between baconian and descartesian science||20||8.7%||1||1 (Short Answer)|
|6. Define how the new methodologies helped shape the modern methods of research||15||6.5%||1||1 (Short Answer)|
|Day 3||New ideas of Scientific Revolution||7. Define geo- and heliocentrism; compare and contrast the Ptolemaic and Copernican Universe;||10||4.35%||2||1 (Multiple choice)||1 (Short Answer)|
|8. Identify key points in Newton’s Principles||15||6.5%||1||1 (Multiple Choice)|
|9. Describe the separation of chemistry from alchemy||10||4.35%||1||1 (Short Answer)|
|10. Define major discoveries of the Scientific Revolution period; discuss their impact on the development of science and the world in general||25||10.9%||2||1 (Multiple Choice)||1 (Short Answer)|
|Day 4||Science vs. Religion Conflict||11. Identify the religious stance of the major figures of the period; analyze the impact of Church on scientific inquiry||30||13.04%||2||1 (Multiple Choice)||1 (Short Answer)|
|12. Discuss Galileo’s trial and why, despite his abnegation from his discoveries, the Church regarded him (and the like of him) as a threat||30||13.04%||1||1 (Short Answer)|
The test overviews the first week of the unit, which is quite extensive in itself and requires further development for adequate knowledge assessment. The test accounts for various levels of cognition as per Bloom’s Taxonomy and can be used to assess the learning outcomes for students in terms of background knowledge, recollection, identification, comprehension, analysis, and evaluation (Linn & Gronlund, 2000). During the course, original excerpts and translations from the signature works can be used as handouts for the students to fulfil the goal of historical thinking. Research initiatives and projects will also be encouraged within the course.
Fermi, L., & Bernardini, G. (2013). Galileo and the Scientific Revolution. North Chelmsford, MA: Courier Corporation.
Hansen, V., & Curtis, K. R. (2012). Voyages in World History, Complete, Brief. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Kunh, T. S. (2012). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Linn, R. L., & Gronlund, N. E. (2000). Measurement and Assessment in Teaching (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.