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Newton's Dark Secrets

Viewing Ideas

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Before Watching

  1. Ask students what they know about Sir Isaac Newton. List student answers on the board. Where and when did he live? What did he do? What is he most known for?

  2. Organize students into three groups. As they watch, have each group take notes on one of the following topics: Newton's key scientific and mathematical discoveries, his religious journey, and his work in alchemy.

After Watching

  1. Have students who took notes on the same topic meet and present their notes. Ask the following questions as different teams share their notes: What were some of Newton's mathematical and scientific contributions? Which are important in the world today? What role did religion play in his life? Why was he interested in alchemy?

  2. Lead a discussion about Newton's interest in alchemy. What first attracted Newton to alchemy? What was he looking for? Why might Newton have felt the need to keep his alchemical work a secret? Why did he eventually abandon alchemy? How does alchemy compare to today's chemistry?

  3. Provide students with information about Newton from different science and history texts. How does the information compare to what they saw in the program? How, if at all, have their impressions about Newton changed after viewing the program?

Teacher's Guide
Newton's Dark Secrets
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