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Open Access Publications from the University of California

History of science meets history of art on Galileo's telescope: An integrated approach for science education


An interdisciplinary approach to science education through history of art is proposed. The approach is innovative, as the artworks complement the history, philosophy and sociology of science contents to increase students’ interest and motivation. The approach integrates humanities and science education through history of art, which request interdisciplinary cooperation of the teachers of the school subjects involved with historical curriculum contents. The approach is elaborated through the case of Galileo's telescope, which provides specific features on the relationships between science and technology (scientific instrumentation applied to generate knowledge), nature of science, and science-technology-society relationships, where history and art meet each other. Further, history of art contributes some contemporary artworks on Galileo case that highlight all those relationships. The explicitness, perception, beauty and accessibility of the paintings may also be a key element to develop teachers’ and students’ interest and motivation in teaching and learning science through its integration with history of art. Finally, the interdisciplinary educational approach develops a teaching-learning sequence on the basis of Galileo's telescope to guide teaching the issue in science education through history of art. This didactic exemplification elaborates some aims, contents, resources and activities throughout the human, social, philosophical, artistic, scientific and historical aspects involved in the case of Galileo that teachers must adapt to specific subjects, degree and students.


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