Astronomy Through the Ages Mini-Lesson

Objective: Students will get a big picture overview of how the study of astronomy and views of the solar system have changed over time.

Suggested Time: 15 minutes

Reading Level: Upper Elementary

Teacher Background

The word "astronomy" comes from a combination of two Greek words: astron meaning "star" and nemein, meaning "to name." Even though the beginnings MORE

Subscribe to TeacherVision to read the full Teacher Background.

Already a subscriber? Sign In.

Print or Project

  1. A Visual Overview: Show the slideshow of photos to your class. Each has a descriptive caption and kid-friendly copy for your students to read. (Please note that there is also more extensive teacher note copy just for you.)
  2. Creative Caption Review: Once you've been through the slideshow for an overview, go back through it again. This time ask students to explain why the captions do (or do not!) work. (Example: Do you think the caption "The Sun Takes Center Stage" is a good one for the slide about Copernicus? Why or why not?)

Click the thumbnail slides below to see the captions and kid-friendly copy up close.

  1. Continue the Conversation: Ask students why it was reasonable for Ptolemy to think the Earth was the center of the universe. Remind them that there was no technology and that it was logical to think the Earth was stationary and everything was moving around it.
  2. Write about it: Ask students to write a letter to Galileo! Suggest they tell him how different the world of astronomy is now. Perhaps they would like to ask him questions about how he felt when his ideas were censored.

Extension Activities

Reinforcements: These worksheets will be useful as you further develop your teaching unit. The Word Power worksheet will give your students vocabulary practice with key terms from this mini-lesson and the related activity will help reinforce key concepts on astronomy.


Astronomy Word Power
Grade: 4 - 6
Students practice vocabulary relevant to astronomy by using each defined word in a sentence.



Storytelling and Astronomy
Grade: 3 - 5
Using storytelling as a tool for learning astronomy.



Excerpted from:

Eyewitness: Astronomy

This book provides an in-depth, comprehensive look at astronomy with a unique integration of words and pictures.

Receive 20% off your DK purchase with promo code DKCLIP.


If you need to teach it, we have it covered.

Start your free trial to gain instant access to thousands of expertly curated worksheets, activities, and lessons created by educational publishers and teachers.

Start Your Free Trial

Follow us on:

Follow TeacherVision on Facebook
Follow TeacherVision on Google Plus