9th through 12th grades (14 to 18 years old), 40 to 60 minutes

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Materials required

I) Introduction (10 minutes)
A) Inform students that you'll be learning about the planet Jupiter and its four largest moons today. You'll be discussing some topics outside the planetarium, then going inside to learn more.
B) Define the terms “planet” and “moon.” Ask students what they know about the planet Jupiter, and show some posters if you have them. [For information on Jupiter, see http://www.nineplanets.org/jupiter.html]
C) How many moons does Jupiter have? [63 as of August 25, 2008.] When were the first moons of Jupiter discovered? [The four largest were first observed with a telescope in December, 1609 or January, 1610.] Who observed them? [Galileo Galilei, which is why these are called the Galilean moons.] Share some facts about Galileo's life such as:

  • He lived from February 15, 1564 – January 8, 1642.

  • He was a mathematician, philosopher, and physicist.

  • He died under house arrest for heresy, which they'll learn more about later in the lesson.

D) Prepare students for entering the planetarium--method of entry, rules for behavior, etc.

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