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Gold Academy
Inquiring-mind Science: How Did Kepler Discover Elliptical Orbits?

Inquiring-mind Science: How Did Kepler Discover Elliptical Orbits?

My daughter truly enjoyed the class and has motivated her further study in science. She also appreciated Mr. Gold’s passion and excitement for science!” –Chigusa, parent, about the Outschool class “Logic Corner: What Is Science?,” 12 Feb 2020

Schedule: This is a 1-week course that meets twice, one hour each session. (Two total hours.)

Format: Lecture with some class participation. We will learn concepts and practice them to attain the mastery we can in a short time. No grading; homework is optional.

Cost: $20 per person for a group class of 4 or more students; $80 for one-on-one tutoring.

Payment options: Payments can be made via PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, cash, or check.

Materials: Pencil and paper.

For more details or to schedule a class, contact Michael by email at michaelgold@goldams.com or by phone at 281-770-2276.

Class Description.

Modern astronomy and knowledge of the solar system also depend on knowing the shape of the planets’ orbits. Without this knowledge, we are missing understanding of physics and the solar system. To understand an idea, we need to know where it comes from. Memorization of someone else’s words is not knowledge. And we have to know that the orbits are elliptical before we try to explain it — Kepler had to come before Newton.

In this class, we will learn how scientists did it and we will do some of their calculations ourselves, and so learn a bit about how to do science ourselves. We will do a combination of lecture, Q&A, and independent work.

Students need some knowledge of geometry: line segments, triangles, circles, perpendicularity, the Pythagorean Theorem. In class, we will learn the math that we need to grasp the idea of ellipse and to get Kepler’s work.

This is a class for everyone — science is all around us! — but especially for those who want to go into science or engineering careers, or study science in school.

Day 1: Review some geometry. Learn about ellipses. Discuss some essential scientific background to Kepler: Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Greek philosophy, etc. Start discussing Kepler’s work: method, causality, philosophy,

Day 2: Continue discussing Kepler’s work. Tabulate Kepler’s measurements for the planets’ orbits, showing ellipticity. Calculate how elliptical they are (compare with circles).

Time permitting, we might discuss some of the work of Kepler and Kepler’s Laws.

“My son (13yo) loved this class, he loved learning math he had not learned before, the instructions were very clear and he enjoyed them a lot. He loved learning the historical context and is already looking for other classes with this teacher. He really enjoyed the class! Thank you!”
–Judith V., parent, about the Outschool class “Inquiring-mind Science: How Far Is the Sun? How Far Are the Planets?,” 1 Apr 2020

“We really enjoyed the Ecology class with Michael Gold! He chose a wonderful textbook for my daughter to use: “Minnesota’s Natural Heritage.” He made it interesting, relevant, and understandable. As a homeschool mom, it’s always a challenge to find good teachers that I can rely on to supplement the holistic education I try to give my children. Michael does just that! He’s knowledgeable, thorough, logical, and even brings a sense of humor to the class! I can’t recommend him highly enough for someone who, like me, wants more for their children. Thank you, Outschool, for providing such good teachers at reasonable costs! We’ll be signing up for more classes soon!”
–Melanie K., parent, about the Outschool class “Ecology (Chp 5 by John Tester): The Northern Coniferous Forest,” 4 Feb 2020