, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 809-827
Date: 02 Aug 2013

Using Ancient Chinese and Greek Astronomical Data: A Training Sequence in Elementary Astronomy for Pre-Service Primary School Teachers

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Abstract

A great amount of research has been carried out world-wide to promote history of science as a powerful science teaching tool. Because the ways of choosing and using historical elements depend on teachers’ or researchers’ educational purpose, any attempt to support a single model-to-use seems difficult and probably irrelevant. However, specific purposes may reflect specific and prescriptive terms for using historical materials. Our work aims to show up this aspect. It is an attempt to make elements of the history of astronomy involved in the elaboration of a training session for future primary school teachers. Here, ancients’ Greek and Chinese historical elements are chosen and organized according to specific educational and conceptual constraints that include the construction of the quasi-parallelism of solar rays reaching Earths’ surface, and the spontaneous modeling of the propagation of Sunlight leaning on divergent rays. This leads to an original teaching sequence were historical elements are mixed with non historical ones. This organization forms the support of a pre-service training session developed for future primary school teachers. This session aims to provide future teachers with elementary cosmological knowledge (parallelism of Sunrays, shape and size of the Earth, Sun-Earth distance…), to provide some reference marks of history of ancient cosmologies (spherical and flat Earth) resulting from two distinct contexts, and to approach some aspects associated with Nature of Science (NOS).