Galileo Galilei and solar system

Title of Book:
Starry Messenger
Peter Sis
Frances Foster Books
Grade Level for Recommended Use: 6th grade
Patterns, relationships, and algebraic thinking. The student uses letters as variables in
mathematical expressions to describe how one quantity changes when a related quantity
changes. The student is expected to:
(A) use tables and symbols to represent and describe proportional and other relationships
such as those involving conversions, arithmetic sequences (with a constant rate of
change), perimeter and area;
Brief Summary: An exquisitely illustrated biography of Galileo Galilei. This book combines
text and art to tell the story and trial of Galileo’s life. Peter Sis makes connections with history
and science while incorporating quotes from other famous people in history. Starry Messenger is
a Caldecott Honor Book, ALA Notable Book, and a School Library Journal Best Book of the
Materials Needed:
graph paper
calculator (optional)
color pencils (optional)
Suggested Activity:
Use the overhead while reading the story to students.
After reading the story, ask the students about what they have learned in science class about the
planets in our solar system. Ask students if they have ever thought about how much they would
weigh on other planets.
Have the students use the website above to calculate their weight on each of the planets and if
you wish the moon and even some of the moons of Jupiter.
Next have the students calculate the percent difference between their weight on Earth and each
planet, and use these percentages to create a bar graph on the graph paper.
To continue the lesson, ask the students to use their graph (which should all be the same) to
answer a few questions:
How much would you weigh on Earth if you weighed 265 lbs on Jupiter?
How much would you weigh on Earth if you weighed 87 lbs on Mars?
If you weighed 185 lbs on Earth, how much would you weigh on Neptune?
Adapted by Sonya Harrell, 2012
Additional resources: