November 28, 2014

Galileo’s Leaning Tower Experiment by Wendy Macdonald, illustrated by Paolo Rui

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 1:57 am by suebe2

Galileo’s Leaning Tower Experiment
by Wendy Macdonald
illustrated by Paolo Rui
Charlesbridge

Massimo stands waiting on the bridge high above the river.  He is dropping stone into the water and gadging how long it takes them to fall.  It is his job to drop a wheel of cheese and loaf of bread down to his uncle with the boat passes beneath the bridge and he’s determined that both items will land in the boat and not the river.

A stranger watches as Massimo lets go of the bread and the cheese.  Both land with a thud in the boat, surprising the man.  When Massimo explains that they always land together, the man asks a strange question.  “Could Aristotle be wrong?”

The man is a professor and he explains Aristotle to Massimo.  Throughout the week, Massimo experiments around the farm, dropping a variety of objects from a variety of heights.  He finally discovers two items, a feather and a hammer, that seem to fall at different rates.   He heads to the University, determined to tell the Professor that Aristotle was correct and that he, Massimo, was wrong.

This is a fictional account of Galileo’s leaning tower experiment.  By adding Massimo, the author makes the story more accessible to young scientists.  Paolo Rui’s acryllic paintings give color and life to Pisa in 1589.

Although this is a work of fiction, it is an excellent introduction to science and how scientists ask and answer questions.  As such, it belongs in the elementary science class and would make an excellent read aloud for slightly older elementary students.  Use it to stir up a lively discussion about how they could test gravity and the rate at which different items fall.

–SueBE

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