Math and Science--High School--Rebecca Becnel

Saraland High/Saraland City Schools

Standing in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa

Searching for Galileo --Project Summary:
As a child I was fascinated by the story of the famous experiment of Galileo dropping weights from the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Over the years I have always wanted to learn more about this Renaissance mathematician and scientist. Fund for Teachers gave me the opportunity this past summer to spend 10 days in Italy researching the details of Galileo’s complex and at times turbulent life and actually seeing and studying his inventions up close. 

During my 10 day stay in Italy I visited the sites of the major events in the life of Galileo. In Pisa I found his birthplace, climbed the famous Leaning Tower, and saw the swinging cathedral lamp that had inspired him to experiment with pendulums. I spent a day in the Museo Galileo in Florence studying Galileo’s telescopes and learning more about his other inventions. Later in Venice I would see where he had first demonstrated the power of the telescope to the city fathers. While in Florence, I also toured the landmarks of the powerful Medici family to discover how they had impacted his life and the lives of other great scientists and artists. On this trip I also walked the halls of the university in Padua where Galileo’s lectern made by his students still stands more than 400 years later. Finally in Rome I toured the Vatican where Galileo was tried for heresy and then sentenced to house arrest for his beliefs and commitment to science. 

I ended my trip having learned so much more than I had expected and eager to share what I had experienced with my students and others through my blog and lessons designed for the classroom.


Blog:  Searching for Galileo

Galileo Student Lessons 

Galileo Flyer 

Last modified: Wednesday, 12 November 2014, 1:00 PM