Literature Connections to
Moon of Jupiter

Teacher's Guides > Moons of Jupiter

Science fiction provides many fine literary connections and extensions for this GEMS guide. The play by Brecht gives students dramatic insight into Galileo’s life, and even contains information on his observations—the same observations the students make via slides in the classroom. Other books about Galileo or about telescopic observation also make good connections.

Several of the books involve exploring and colonizing other planets. In The Planets there is a highly sophisticated science fiction story about colonization of one of Jupiter’s moons. Look for any good stories about exploration and settlement of the Earth’s Moon, or other planets/galaxies. Ethical issues are often involved, including: nationalistic competition on Earth in the “race for space,” imagined diplomatic and/or antagonistic relations with extraterrestrials, and whether or not to colonize or exploit natural resources found in space.

Venus, Mars, and Jupiter, because of their prominence in the nighttime sky, have inspired a large number of folktales, legends, and myths. Their rising and setting times are often important agricultural markers. Books such as Star Tales: North American Indian Stories or They Dance in the Sky are but two examples from many that provide great opportunities for literary connections and increased cultural understandings.

2010: Odyssey Two
Against Infinity

Einstein Anderson Makes Up for Lost Time
The Faces of Ceti
Galileo

Jupiter Project
The Jupiter Theft
Life of Galileo

The Planets
Star Tales: North American Indian Stories
The Three Astronauts
They Dance in the Sky: Native American Star Myths

2010: Odyssey Two
by Arthur C. Clarke
Ballantine Books, New York. 1982
Grades: 10–Adult
This complex, mysterious, and thought-provoking sequel to Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey had the benefit of being written subsequent to the Voyager mission. Chapter 13 specifically, “The Worlds of Galileo,” focuses on the four main moons of Jupiter, although there are fascinating observations, accurate scientific information, and lots of interesting speculation about Jupiter and its moons throughout the book, not to mention spirits of intergalactic intelligence and Jupiter becoming a second sun. More advanced students may want to evaluate the accuracy of Clarke’s descriptions of Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto.
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Against Infinity
by Gregory Benford
Simon & Schuster, New York. 1983
Grades: 10–Adult
This science fiction novel is an account of human settlement on Jupiter’s largest moon, Ganymede. The story takes place several hundred years into the colonization process, and begins from the perspective of a 13-year-old boy whose father is one of the leaders of the settlement. The novel ties in well with the final session in which student teams undertake scientific missions to devise and build moon settlements on one of Jupiter’s moons. Advanced students may want to read this novel to gather ideas about constructing biospheres, melting ice, obtaining minerals, and other ways humans might possibly survive on the moons of Jupiter. (The author is a Professor of Physics at the University of California, Irvine.)
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Einstein Anderson Makes Up for Lost Time
by Seymour Simon; illustrated by Fred Winkowski
Viking Penguin, New York. 1981
Grades: 4–7
Chapter 6 poses the question “How can Einstein tell a planet from a star without using a telescope?” He explains to his friend Dennis that although stars twinkle, planets usually shine with a steady light. Looking through the telescope, he thinks the steady light he sees is Jupiter. The four faint points of steady light nearby are Jupiter’s moons.
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The Faces of Ceti
by Mary Caraker
Houghton Mifflin, Boston. 1991
Grades: 6–12
In this science fiction thriller, colonists from Earth form two settlements on adjoining planets of the Tau Ceti system. One colony tries to survive by dominating the natural forces that they encounter, while those who land on the planet Ceti apply sound ecological principles and strive to live harmoniously in their new environment. Nonetheless, the Cetians encounter a terrible dilemma—the only edible food on the planet appears to be a species of native animals called the Hlur. Two teen-age colonists risk their lives in a desperate effort to save their fellow colonists from starvation without killing the gentle Hlur.
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Galileo
by Leonard Everett Fisher
Macmillan Publishing, New York. 1992
Grades: 3–7
This nonfiction work provides a carefully written and well-illustrated account of Galileo’s life and accomplishments. His observations of Jupiter’s moons are placed in the context of a life of remarkable discoveries in many fields. The book handles the conflict with the Catholic Church in an interesting and balanced way, including modern Papal statements in a brief “More About Galileo” section at the end of the book. An excellent way to provide students with a concise assessment of Galileo’s many accomplishments, triumphs, and tragedies.
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Jupiter Project
by Gregory Benford
Bantam Books, New York. 1990
Grades: 7–10
A teen-ager lives with his family as part of a large scientific laboratory that orbits Jupiter, but he is ordered to return home. He has one chance to stay; if he can make an important discovery. There is a nice mix of physics and astronomy with teen-age rebellion and growing maturity, some love interest, and an exciting plot. The descriptions in Chapters 6, 7, and 8, which are part of an account of an expedition to Ganymede, could be compared by students to the information they observe and learn about this mammoth moon.
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The Jupiter Theft
by Donald Moffitt
Ballantine Books, New York. 1977
Grades: 7–Adult
Strange, advanced beings from somewhere near the constellation of Cygnus encounter a Jupiter expedition from Earth. The Cygnans want to take Jupiter away to use as a power source as they migrate through the universe. There is some graphic violence as various life forms attack and/or ally with each other, but in general the focus is on scientific speculation. In addition to interesting descriptions of Jupiter and its moons, the book has a wealth of cogent speculation on the possibilities and varieties of life on other worlds.
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Life of Galileo
by Bertolt Brecht
Grove Weidenfeld, New York. 1966
Grades: 9–12

This play is a rich literary extension to this unit. During the early scenes of the play, there are several references to, explanations of, and controversies about the telescope, Galileo’s observations of the Earth’s moon, and the implications of his tracking of Jupiter’s moons—the exact activity that the students recreate during the first activity. Much of the rest of the play focuses on science and society, church policies of the time, and other incisive social criticism characteristic of Brecht. Dramatizing several of the early scenes would make a great extension, and Galileo’s long speech near the end of the play raises relevant issues. (The play is also available in the collection Brecht: Collected Plays, Vintage Books, Random House, 1972.)
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The Planets
edited by Byron Preiss
Bantam Books, New York. 1985
Grades: 8–Adult
This extremely rich, high-quality anthology pairs a nonfiction essay with a fictional work about the earth, moon, each of the planets, and asteroids and comets. Introductory essays are by Issac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and others. The material is dazzlingly illustrated with color photographs from the archives of NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and paintings by astronomical artists such as the movie production designers of 2001 and Star Wars. “The Future of the Jovian System” by Gregory Benford (about colonization and development of Jupiter’s moon Ganymede) is a perfect match to the final activity. The vocabulary is sophisticated, so it may be more suitable for higher-level readers.
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Star Tales: North American Indian Stories
retold and illustrated by Gretchen W. Mayo
Walker & Co., New York. 1987
Grades: 5–12
The nine legends in this collection explain observations of the stars, moon, and night sky. Accompanying each tale is information about the constellation or other heavenly observation and how various peoples perceived and interpreted it. Stories like these from Native American and other world cultures can be interwoven with astronomy activities.
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The Three Astronauts
by Umberto Eco; illustrated by Eugenio Carmi
Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, San Diego. 1989
Grades: K–5
An American, a Russian, and a Chinese astronaut take off separately in their own rockets with the goal of being first on Mars. They all land at the same time, immediately distrusting each other. When they encounter a Martian, their cultural differences disappear as they unite against him. In a surprise happy ending, they recognize the humanity of the Martian after observing his charity toward a baby bird and extend this understanding to differences between all peoples. Younger children may not get the full benefit of the sophisticated illustrations and humor. The astronauts are all male, with no female characters or references.
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They Dance in the Sky: Native American Star Myths
by Jean Guard Monroe and Ray A. Williamson
Houghton Mifflin, Boston. 1987
Grades: 5–12
Stories from many Native American regions and peoples, including the Southwest and Southeast, the Plains Indians, the Pawnee, the Northwest Coast, and California Indians are particularly suitable for reading aloud. Stories about the Pleiades, the Big Dipper, and the “Star Beings” are noteworthy, but all are imaginative and intriguing. Stories like these from Native American and other world cultures can be interwoven with astronomy activities, provide a sense of careful observation over time, and highlight how the stars and planets have always inspired the human imagination.
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To command the professors of astronomy to confute their own observations is to enjoin an impossibility, for it is to command them not to see what they do see, and not to understand what they do understand, and to find out what they do not discover.


— Galileo Galilei


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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