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Jumping out of our archive today was the “Galileo – and still it moves” project. This involved working with a group of year 5 children to explore the planets and in doing so, develop their literacy skills: particularly their speaking, listening and writing skills.

We started off by exploring Galileo and what he went through when he challenged the orthodoxy of the day ie the sun revolving around the earth, rather than the other way around. Of course, many of the adults in the room explained to the children about how terribly he was treated and what a genius he was and how he suffered for his knowledge. All of which is no doubt true.

Although perhaps it’s not. One of interesting moments was when a young boy, when being told by a teacher that Pluto was a planet, challenged the teacher with the recent finding that Pluto was not longer deemed a planet but a dwarf planet, or a rock cluster of minor significance or just a large ice pack or something to that effect (who knows?!) Mr Teacher then responded to the challenge that as far as he was concerned, Pluto had been a planet when he was at school, still was a planet, and would be for the rest of his days.

The irony of Mr Teachers response was of course not lost on the Year 5 boy who sat through the rest of the lesson with a slightly bemused look on his face. What we deem as knowledge is as uncertain and as flaky as it was in Galileo’s day.

So, what’s been your Galileo moment?

More details about the Galileo project here.