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The Story of India

Lesson 4: Monument to the Stars

(Gupta Empire, 4th - 6th Centuries CE)

Objectives

  • Understand the factors that led to the rise of the Gupta Empire.
  • Identify the great accomplishments made in mathematics and science during the Gupta era.

Introduction

Indian scientists and mathematicians are credited with the creation of important concepts that played essential roles in the development of advanced technology and scientific theories. The famed Indian mathematician-astronomer Aryabhatta established himself as one of the most influential contributors to the math and science world with the publication of his treatise Aryabhatiya (written when he was 23 years old). In this document he theorized about astronomy, trigonometry, arithmetic, and algebra. Centuries before Copernicus, he correctly identified that the earth rotates on an axis and revolves around the sun.

Main Task

The local college, the University of Aryabhatta, has asked for a design of a monument for its namesake, Aryabhatta, the renowned Indian scientist and mathematician from the 5th century CE. This memorial must epitomize concepts of mathematical, astronomical and scientific understanding demonstrated by Aryabhatta. As a local artist and admirer of Aryabhatta, you have decided to enter the competition. You must submit a design or model of the memorial and a justification of each element's inclusion, as well as a description of the modern importance of each item.

Brief Process

  1. Review assignment requirements.
  2. Research Aryabhatta and his accomplishments in the field of mathematics and science, noting potential items that could be included in the memorial.
  3. Design the memorial and, if possible, make a model of it.
  4. Write your description of the memorial.
  5. Share your memorial with classmates.

Resources

Extension Ideas

  • Hold a competition within the class with the teacher or a panel of adults selecting the best representation of Aryabhatta's ideas.
  • Try to imagine how the world would be different without concepts discovered, invented and advanced by Aryabhatta. Write an article or a short story about modern life without these advances.

Standards

Era 4: Expanding Zones of Exchange and Encounter, 300-1000 CE
Standard 1C: The student understands the synthesis of Hindu civilization in India in the era of the Gupta Empire.
Grade Level Therefore, the student is able to
5-12 Evaluate Gupta achievements in art, literature, and mathematics.