SS6.1

Catholic Faith Permeation for this outcome:
  • Awareness of the vast distances and time spans involved give us a glimpse of God's eternal nature and majesty. Our earth is only an infinitesimal speck in the solar system, which in turn is a minute speck in the Milky Way Galaxy, which is only one of trillions scattered in the "known" universe. The 10,000 year span of humanity is a tiny speck on the scale of 15 billion years in the age of the universe. Use Appendix F to present to students a sense of how small we are in the Universe. What does this make you feel or think? What does it tell us about God who was there before the Big Bang?
  •  In the summer of 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) voted to change the status of Pluto from a planet to a "dwarf planet" or "planetoid" following the discovery that there are many other similar bodies in the Kuiper Belt. A new definition of "planet" had thus to be agreed upon. There are countless references to the controversy over Pluto. See for example: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/08/060824-pluto-planet.html
In the Church, a final authority is also needed to define doctrine and resolve controversy. This is the role of the Magisterium which forms one of three authority pillars in the Church, along with Scripture and Tradition. Tell students you want them to survey as many people as they can in the next day asking "Is Pluto a planet?" and (if they answer "No") "Do you think it should be?" What did you discover? What information is necessary for people to answer the second question? Is this the type of issue that should be decided by a vote? Why or why not?
  • The popular cliché holds that Science and Religion were often at odds in history, and, Church authorities sought to control or overrule science, especially in astronomy and cosmology. The most famous examples are probably Galileo and Darwin. Yet, as shown throughout these permeation guides, we see a constant interaction and even agreement of Science and Religion in history and still today -- people of science working with a strong and lively faith. See Catholic Scientists Appendix B. Copy or discuss this with students. Then use the crossword based on these scientists found in Appendix I. (Only the last names are used in the crossword.)
  • Although Science fiction is often assumed to be inherently hostile to religion, some of the best and most effective Sci-fi has not only found a place to mention faith, but has allowed it to become an integral part of the plot and characters. Write an essay or prepare a presentation for the class regarding the place of religion/faith in a science fiction series or movie. Use examples of faith issues and elements from the story (or episodes) and explain how this relates to what we have learned about the Catholic Church and astronomy. One episode of the original Star Trek, for example, "Bread and Circuses" has a group of people persecuted for worshipping the "Sun" but at the end, it is discovered they are worshipping not the "Sun" in the sky, but the "Son" of God!
Some other possibilities:
  • T.V. Series: Star Trek (and any of the spin-offs), Babylon V (has some excellent episodes on religion in the future on a multi-race space station), Battlestar Gallactica (caution: some mature content), Doctor Who, Firefly (caution: some mature content)
  • Movies: Star Trek, Star Wars, Contact, Stargate, Avatar
Faith Permeation Resources:
  • Appendix A - Catechism #340, 341, 344 and the Compendium #3, #54 especially, as well as the Scripture quotes and other sources
  • Patron Saint of Astronomers: St. Dominic
  • For background information on Church authority, see Compendium #16 and 17 in Appendix A
  • For background information on the conflict between Science and Faith, see Appendix H.
For complete unit, click here.


Indicator:
a. Use a variety of sources and technologies to gather and compile pertinent information about the physical characteristics of the major components of the solar system.
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b. Analyze historical and current technological developments that have enabled human observation of the major components of the solar system.
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c.Construct a timeline of Canadian and worldwide research efforts related to understanding the major components of the solar system.
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d. Evaluate the validity and usefulness of different sources of information about the physical characteristics of the solar system.
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e. Use star charts and astronomy guides to investigate the night sky, including constellations, and record observations using notes in point form, data tables, simple diagrams, and/or charts.
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f. Describe objects in the heavens, as indicated through First Nations and Métis art and stories or by Elders or traditional knowledge keepers.
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g. Create scale-distance and/or scale-size models to represent the major components of the solar system.
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h. Evaluate the usefulness and accuracy of scale-distance and scale-size models of the major components of the solar system.
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i. Explain how evidence is continually questioned in order to validate scientific knowledge about the solar system.
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