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 Happy  454th Birthday!


Galileo I had such fun writing the Ben Franklin birthday blog, I thought I’d write about another scientist. I stumbled upon Galileo’s name in a novel I was reading, Rules of Civility by Amor Towles, in which two characters briefly discuss one of Galileo’s discoveries.

“What I recall about this Galileo fellow is that he was the one who figured that a pendulum takes the same amount of time to swing two feet or two inches … he discovered this by watching a chandelier swing back and forth from the ceiling of a church. He would measure the duration of the swings by taking his pulse.” 1

Renaissance Scholar

On February 15, 1564, Galileo Galilei was born in Pisa, Italy. He led a life of philosophy, discovery, art, and controversy. At the end of this blog, you’ll find links to sites that explore his scientific accomplishments, including his acceptance of Copernicus’ theory that the Earth revolves around the sun. Ultimately, his insistence upon this theory resulted in an elderly Galileo being placed under house arrest for the rest of his life.

Celebrate Galileo’s Birthday

There are many ways to celebrate Galileo’s birthday. Here are some options.

  • Have groups of students construct a pendulum. There are many online sites with directions; here are two possibilities.
  An online simulation of pendulum swing science:Pendulum Lab
PBS Kids Science Rocks! pendulum activity:Pendulum Challenge



  • Have students create a diorama museum exhibit dedicated to Galileo. Direct students to make, find, or print out an artifact, painting, document, etc. that has a biographical or scientific connection to Galileo. Then Stack these dioramas to create a Galileo museum in a corner of your classroom or in a library or hallway display case.
(Sample A)(Sample B)(stacked boxes)
4” x 7” box; includes internet images glued to card stock and, when dry, cut out. Glue them to a paper stand, small block, or other object that allows images to stand independently.4” x 5” box; includes internet image of Galileo, tiny 3D book, statue of the Leaning Tower, and a window cut from card stock.







  • Have students create a virtual museum. Each student or team of students creates a PowerPoint slide or other type of digital presentation of their chosen representation of Galileo.
  • The Animated Hero Classics: Galileo is a pdf activity booklet. It introduces Galileo, his time, and his work. Grade appropriateness depends on the ability levels of your
    students. It includes information, coloring activities, word puzzles, and more.
  • There are also many good YouTube videos to share with students. Here are two possibilities.

Galileo Galilei in a Nutshell     

Galileo and his Big Idea


Simple Solutions Connections

For our current customers, these and other websites are in the Simple Solutions S2TaRCenter.

Science Grade 3


Gravity and Falling Objects 

Galileo: His Experiments

Science Grade 4


Gravity and Falling Objects

Additional Galileo Links

This is an English version guide to some artifacts from Italy’s Museo Galileo in Pisa.  Galileo Museum Guide to Artifacts

This Discover Magazine article may help your students determine fact from legend. According to the article, Einstein, who was a fan of Galileo’s methods, said, “he is the father of modern physics – indeed modern science altogether.”  20 Things You Didn’t Know about Galileo

This NOVA site includes a timeline, an activity, and some video clips. Galileo: Sun-Centered System

In 2009, the Stanford Solar Center produced some activities for middle and upper grade students, and most of the links are still active.  400th Anniversary of Galileo’s Astronomical Discoveries

This site has text and video clips explaining basketball hang time.  Galileo Got Game: 5 Things You Didn’t Know about the Physics of Basketball


1 Towles, Amor. Rules of Civility. New York: Penguin Books, 2011. (293)

About the author


Diane D has been researching and writing for Simple Solutions since retiring from her teaching position at the Nordonia schools. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science. Diane, who is fluent in Italian, travels a lot, bikes every opportunity she gets, rock climbs, skis, and has recently joined a rowing team.

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