In seventh grade we have been expanding the depth of what the student is learning about. They studied WORLD geography to give them an overview of the entire planet they live on, they study chemistry to give them an in-depth view of the basic elements of everything on earth and along these same lines of “expansion” they will move beyond the astronomy of their own earth, moon and sun (G6) and into the entire solar system with all of its planets. This astronomy unit will also be complimented by studying biographies of great astronomers such as Kepler, Copernicus and Galileo. Learning about these great men will tie this science block into the G7 Renaissance and Age of Exploration lesson blocks.
In his speech, “Renewal of Education”, Steiner says about Astronomy:
Nor is it good in so-called mathematical geography to begin dogmatically with a drawing of the Copernican solar system. Instead we should begin by describing for the children, at least as a sketch, how people came to such a perspective. In that way children
do not learn concepts that are beyond the level of their human development. Of course, people taught children the fixed Ptolemaic concepts when the Ptolemaic view of the world predominated.
Now we teach them the Copernican perspective. It is certainly necessary to give children at least some idea about how people determined the positions of the stars in the sky and, from a summary of those positions, came to some conclusion that then became a description of the planetary system. We do not want the children to believe, for example, that such a description of the planetary system came about by someone sitting in a chair outside of the universe and simply looking at the planets. When you draw the Copernican system on the blackboard as though it were a fact, how can a child imagine how people came to that view? Children need to have some living idea about how such things develop; otherwise they will go through their entire lives with confused ideas, which they believe are absolutely certain.That is how a false belief in authority develops, something that
does not occur when you develop a proper feeling for authority.