The Cosmos Corner

By Bosse, Michael J.; Morrison, David et al. | Academic Exchange Quarterly, Summer 2004 | Go to article overview

The Cosmos Corner


Bosse, Michael J., Morrison, David, Williams, Stephen, Nowakowski, Brandi, Arrigenna, Kristin, Davis, Laurie, Academic Exchange Quarterly


Abstract

Secondary and university students are perennially bombarded with confusing historic theories regarding celestial mechanics. Most textbook discussions are guided by either strict historic chronology or conceptual frameworks and are generally devoid of the historic philosophical and theological developments which accompanied the work of the respective scientists. Without an understanding of theological and philosophical debates concurrent with scientific hypotheses and discoveries, the significance of the scientific discussions becomes hollow. In the form of a play, this paper seeks to provide an understanding of the science, philosophies, and theological viewpoints which surrounded scientists in their historic work. This fictitious dialog seeks to open the investigation of the history of celestial mechanics by allowing seminal historic participants to discuss their ideas with others who may have predated or postdated them by a millennium or more.

**********

Play Development and Purpose

Writing Play Plays have had a fertile heritage within the history of mathematics and science. Arguably, one of history's most influential plays may have been Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief Systems of the World--Ptolemaic and Copernican (1632) by Galileo Galilei (1564-1642). Publications from mathematics and science education reform efforts repeatedly promote the pedagogical and epistemological value of writing for both learning and assessment (NCSE, 1995; NCTM, 2000, 1995, 1991, 1989). The approach to teaching and learning through both role playing and play writing is not novel; both practices have been touted as valuable activities for the learning of mathematics and science ideas (Bonnet, 2000; Duveen & Solomon, 1994; Francis & Byrne, 1999; Harwood, McKinster, Cruz & Gabel; 2002). Play writing and role-play may be particularly valuable in assisting students to learn more esoteric concepts. Recently, both methodologies have been used to make mathematics and science more understandable to students (Bosse & Nandakumar, 1998; Duveen & Solomon, 1994; Francis & Byrne, 1999).

The Experience of This Project The following play was written as a collaboration between five students and the instructor in a college History of Mathematics course. The assignment was initially intended to assist those students master the morass of culture, science, mathematics, religion and philosophy within the development and evolution of theories of celestial mechanics. Group planning and delineation of individualized investigatory tasks led each student to study people, ideas, and events associated with the topic; thus, each student wrote individual reports and became expert in certain aspects of the study. Through frequent group meetings, students hashed out hypothetical dialogs constructed upon their findings. Although the student-authors found this task much more challenging than they had anticipated, they took great pleasure as they saw separate components and ideas become integrated. The participating student-authors reported the process of collecting, analyzing, and synthesizing data into the usable, coherent, and user-friendly form of a play to have been instrumental in assisting them to master the complex material. Prompted by the instructional success of this endeavor, the play was later used to teach the historical development of celestial mechanics in sections of History of Mathematics and Liberal Arts Mathematics in a novel and fresh manner. Herein, the play was used as both a read-only homework assignment and acted out as a play by student actors. The play writing process was found to have two primary uses. First, the development of the play required the synthesis of great volumes of scientific, mathematical, philosophic, theological, and biographical information. This allowed students to construct a thorough understanding of salient factors affecting the historic development of the topic.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Cosmos Corner
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.