Galileo’s Leaning Tower Experimentby Wendy Macdonald (Author), Paolo Rui (Illustrator)
The Farm Boy and the Scientist
Every week Massimo, the farm boy, would deliver lunch to his uncle in the MOST unusual way! He would drop the food off a bridge onto his uncle’s boat. Massimo had to be very precise since he did not want his uncle’s food to get all wet.
One day a stranger stopped to see Massimo throwing stones in the water. At first the stranger thought it was a game. “It’s not a game, sir” Massimo said. Massimo explained that he was watching to see how fast the stone would fall. “Why does that concern you?” asked the curious stranger. Massimo explained about his food delivery system and pointed out the approaching boat.
Then Massimo picked up the cheese and load of bread. Just as the boat passed under the bridge, Massimo dropped the two parcels. Massimo was happy that the food landed right inside the boat. But the stranger was intrigued… He had just noticed BOTH the packages landing on the boat at the same time! Considering that one was heavier than the other, shouldn’t the heavier package have landed first?
The stranger was none other than Professor Galileo. Having introduced himself to the boy, he then returned the next week to see Massimo “drop” the food off with his uncle on top of the bridge. Mystified, Professor Galileo decided it was time to prove Aristotle’s theory wrong. A difficult task for the two.. because Aristotle had a reputation of being very smart!
After that Massimo and Galileo tested out the theory of falling objects several more times with the same results. They tried it out with a crushed ball of paper and a rock. The test proved Aristotle was indeed wrong. But will they be able to change people’s minds? Why not? asked Massimo. Let’s show them! he said enthusiastically. And so they did!
This is a wonderful book, an example really, of how to teach children important science topics. Not only does the historical fiction tell us about the physics of falling objects, but also how experimenting and learning hands on is the most exciting way to learn. This has not changed over generations! Back in 1589 when Galielo had just become a Professor at University of Pisa he began doing experiments to learn how and why things move. It is believed that he dropped things from the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Author Wendy Macdonald tried it out herself when she read this particular legend. And then she presented this amazing and clever story of farm boy Massimo (fictional) and the experiment of falling objects!
Excited after reading this book, DD and I took time to test it out ourselves.. with the exact same results
Join us! and if you manage to “capture” the moment.. share it with us !