In this simulation, students become familiar with the arguments used by different players in the debates about Galileo. For this course, there were five different discussion sections. Each section was assigned in advance to one of five positions, representing the different intellectual positions of various participants in debates about Galileo. The students spent time in section preparing for an in-class debate. They developed opening statements and two responses to arguments they expected to hear from other participants in the debate. They learned how to articulate the opinions of the position to which they were assigned.
On the day of the debate, during a lecture class, microphones and podiums were set up in the classroom. The students took turns stating the position they represented and arguing for it against objections from other participants. At the end of the debate, everyone applauded. Professor Ann Blair found that the students really enjoyed the activity.
See below for a handout relating to this activity.