Wonders of the Sky

Wonders of the Sky

Wonders of the Sky

Wonders of the Sky


Examining natural phenomena through the lens of ancient mythology and from the perspective of modern day science, this unique book encourages students to appreciate the magic in both myth and science. This twofold approach helps to clarify the commonality of all human experience with nature, across cultures and throughout time. Eight myths, each from a different cultural background, are accompanied by scientific explanations. By comparing the different explanations for such occurrences as comets, meteors, and eclipses, students will learn to appreciate the similarities in experiences of these phenomena, as well as the contrast between ancient and current comprehensions of the world.

Helpful diagrams and engaging illustrations enhance student interest and understanding. Ideas for activities, projects, and field trips, along with lists of recommended bibliographies and websites, serve as springboards for further study. An invaluable resource for studies of science and ancient history, Wonders of the Sky provides a refreshing approach for students in school library, public library, and classroom settings. Grades 4-8


Teachers’ guides are abundant in the area of astronomy, and lesson plans and activities are easily accessible on-line. But this is a different kind of astronomy guide; it combines science with myth, and it stresses how human curiosity shaped the history of science as ancient people learned to recognize patterns in the sky. Ancient myths contain a vivid imagery of the celestial world, with powerful sky gods who glide through the heavens and keep the world moving in continuing cycles. in this book, chapters on the Sun, Moon, stars, planets, and our Milky Way galaxy center on beliefs that arose as people recognized the rhythms of the heavens. Chapters on comets, meteors, and eclipses center on beliefs that arose when people witnessed an eruption of those rhythms.

Wonders of the Sky was born from years of fascination with sky legends and from a recognition that myth and science are intricately entwined. in examining the sky myths of different cultures, we can see that people have always had a desire to interpret nature’s messages, and the myths and legends that arose from this desire served as an early form of philosophy. Each chapter in this teachers’ guide contains an adaptation of a sky myth and an explanation of the science behind the myth. Topics for discussion and projects should be useful for lessons in art and creative writing, and they center as much on the culture that told the myth as on the science behind it.

The proliferation of books and Web sites that contain information on astronomy and culture made selection of reference sources difficult, so I limited the list of teacher resources in the appendix to books that were particularly helpful in preparing this guide and to general Web sites that contain grade-appropriate explanations, lessons, and projects . . .

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