Al Biruni - A sample chapter from 'Standing on the Shoulders of Giants'

This is a sample chapter from the forthcoming book, ‘Standing on the Shoulders of Giants’ by Tom Burkard and Colin McKenzie. Al Biruni is recognised as one of the greatest scientists of Islam. He was one of the first to recognise the importance of peer review, and his studies straddled the fields of philosophy, maths, astronomy and Earth science.

It is aimed at higher ability students, and is an excellent resource for revision, homework or ‘flipped learning’. Further chapters are also being made available for review and evaluation.

This chapter tells the story of Al Biruni and details his work on:

  • The Decimal System
  • Gravity
  • Astronomy
  • Geology
  • Density
  • Mineral Hardness
  • Heat and Light

Each chapter of Standing on the Shoulders of Giants gives a brief biography of a great physicist and is linked to an explanation of their discoveries that is relevant to the school curriculum.

I have used this chapter for revision, homework and as a ‘flipped learning’ activity, where students are encouraged to independently learn the basics of a topic before it is taught in class. Our chapters are also very effective for use in ‘quiet reading’ sessions. The literacy level here is ‘higher’ and we have found this content to be very engaging as extension work for higher ability students.

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