Thursday, June 27, 2013

Recentering the Universe: The Radical Theories of Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton by Ron Miller

Recentering the Universe: The Radical Theories of Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton
Miller, Ron.  Minneapolis, MN: Twenty First Century Books, 2014.  9780761358855

(Note: I read this book through NetGalley.  When looking on Titlewave the copyright date is listed as 2014 although it says it will be available August 1, 2013)

Quantitative Reading Level:  YA

Qualitative Reading Analysis:

On the “Text Complexity: Qualitative Measures Rubric for Informational Text” I would rate this book as Middle High.  The purpose of the text is to inform readers of the two main theories regarding the place of Earth in the Universe.  To do this the author discusses various scientists and their ideas.  In addition the role of religion is examined as it related to the development of scientific inquiry.  The language, as a science text, contains language related to the field which readers will need to have background knowledge in.  There is a glossary, index, and list of resources to assist the reader.  Although the language is scientific in nature the book flows well and reads as biographies which keeps the book from being High.


This book covers the various theories of the place of the planet Earth in the Universe.  While primarily focusing on Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton, the author also discusses the older theory of Ptolemy and even some more recent geocentric models.  The book is organized in biographical sections which give the history of the astronomer and his contributions.  In addition, the author looks at the role religion played in the development and hindrance of some of the theories.
Content Area: Science – Space

Content area standard:

SCI.04.ESU.01.02  Understands the sun's gravitational pull holds the earth and other planets in their orbits, just as each planet's gravitational pull keeps its moons in orbit.

Understands why different objects have stronger or weaker gravitational pulls.

SCI.06.ESU.01.02  Understands the role of gravity in forming and maintaining planets, stars, and the solar system.

SCI.07.ESU.01.02  Understands the evidence for the age, origin, and process of formation of the universe as currently understood by science.

Understands the tools and technology used by astronomers to gather information about the universe.

Curriculum Suggestions:

This book would tie in very well in a study of planetary theories and of famous astronomers.  Students could compare and contrast the lives of famous astronomers as described in this book with other biographical information.  Students could investigate the time periods of these astronomers and the role of religion.  

Personal Thoughts:

I really wish this book had been around 5 years ago when I was teaching space to my fifth graders and one of our standards was covering the Ptolemy, Copernicus, and Galileo.  I had to do a lot of research to make it kid-friendly.  While this text would be a bit high for 5th graders it is more accessible than what I had and I could have used portions of it.

Subjects/Themes:  Science – space, Science vs. Religion

High Interest Annotation: 

 Has the Earth always traveled around the sun?  Well, yes.  But did we always believe it?  Well, no.  Read this book to discover the various theories about our place in the Universe.

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