Theory Play Share & Discuss

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Teach Early Astronomical Theories
with Odyssey

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Theory

Early Astronomical Theories

This lesson has you continue playing Odyssey and takes a look at some of the concepts featured in the game.

Teacher Resources

This lesson has the students continue playing Odyssey. Additionally, this lesson also provides additional sources on the concepts featured in the game: the next slide provides these sources.

Content list:

  • Theory: This lesson has the students continue playing Odyssey and looks as the early history of astronomy and theories that have become myths.
  • Tasks: The students play the game, reading and solving the astronomy-themed puzzles.
  • Share & Discuss: These tasks focus on the early history of astronomy, such as Sun creation myths and ancient philosophers.

Early Astronomical Concepts

  • Constellations are groupings of stars
  • Polaris is the North Star, and the Big Dipper points towards it
  • The Flat Earth Theory posits that the Earth (or even the whole world) is flat
  • Myths of the Sun have been common in many civilizations, perhaps most notably in Latin America
  • Anaximander was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher

Cosmic 'winter' wonderland.

Teacher Resources

Play

Lesson Goal

Play Odyssey! Remember to read the journal to understand how to solve each puzzle.
Remember also to check your inventory if you are stuck.

Teacher Resources

Now is the time to get acquainted with Odyssey.

If the students have trouble solving some of the puzzles, you can help them or suggest that they read the journal again (by pressing space and clicking on the journal). Occasionally, the students will also need to use the pickaxe (found early on) to break objects.

Students having trouble? Click here to download the solutions to the puzzles!

How to Play

To begin playing, click on New Game.

To continue a previous game, click on Continue.

Gameplay screenshot

Share & Discuss

Share & Discuss

  • How far along did you get?
  • Did you have any problems with a specific puzzle? Which one?
  • Did you get stuck at any puzzle? Which one?
  • What do you think of the journals?

Teacher Resources

These questions are meant to get the students to open up and start a discussion. The answers do not matter as much as the fact that they are talking: the next slide provides opportunities for evaluation and should be more strictly observed. If it turns out that some of the students got stuck at some puzzle, you may also use this moment to show (or have one of the students show) the solution to the puzzle and go through it together. Alternatively, you can let the students try solving that puzzle during the next lesson.

Tasks after Playing

  • Recount a Sun creation myth. Whose myth is it?
Show Notes

Any of the these myths will do: Aztec and various others.

  • What is a constellation? Why are constellations relevant to astronomy?
Show Notes

Constellations are groupings of stars that are extremely far away from Earth (typically hundreds or thousands of light years) which means that their relative positions do not really change from the point of view of the Earth: Earth itself moves, influencing which constellations are visible. Constellations act as constants (similar to the Sun), making it easier to understand how wandering celestial objects (such as planets) truly work and orbit.

  • Tell something of the thinking of Anaximander.
Show Notes

Here is a good segment on the contributions of Anaximander: “Anaximander was the author of the first surviving lines of Western philosophy. He speculated and argued about "the Boundless" as the origin of all that is. He also worked on the fields of what we now call geography and biology. Moreover, Anaximander was the first speculative astronomer. He originated the world-picture of the open universe, which replaced the closed universe of the celestial vault.” (source)