Yesterday, Neil Armstrong, the first human to step foot on the moon passed away. We’re posting resources today that you can use in class to honor the life and achievements of Neil Armstrong—as well as the legacy of Sally Ride, and the current exploration of the planet Mars with NASA’s Curiosity rover.
I’ve gathered materials on the ReadWriteThink site and from our Thinkfinity partners that fit three broad categories:
- Resources focused directly on Space Exploration
- Biographical and historical materials you can use to explore the life of Armstrong (or any astronaut or scientist)
- Family activities that relate to Space Exploration
The materials range from mini-lessons to complete units and cross the grade levels. So read on, and celebrate what the Star Trek series has proclaimed as “Space—The Final Frontier.”
Focused on Space Exploration
- Blast Off! Vocabulary Instruction Using a Virtual Moon Trip
3, 2, 1... Blast off! Students learn new vocabulary by taking a virtual field trip to the moon, read-alouds, creating a picture dictionary, and completing a final writing activity.
- In 1969, the first human walked on the moon.
The class activity in this calendar entry has students discuss Neil Armstrong’s famous quotation when he landed on the moon and explore the difference that one word can make, as well as the gendered language that Armstrong uses.
- Astronomy Poetry: Combining Poetry With the Content Areas
Students' responses to this lesson will be out of this world after they've researched astronomy to write poetry and compile a poetry book.
- The first picture of Earth was taken by the U.S. satellite Explorer VI in 1959.
After students view the first picture from the Explorer VI Satellite, the classroom activity in this calendar entry asks students to discuss the differences between this first image and the images of the earth that we typically see today.
- Sally Ride, first American woman in space, was born in 1951.
In the classroom activity in the calendar entry, students explore information about Sally Ride on the StarKids Who’s Who site and then write a letter using the Letter Generator to the Ride’s foundation, Sally Ride Science.
- Science NetLinks’ Celebrating Space Exploration
This collection of Science NetLinks resources provide a variety of rich media learning experiences to help students learn more about NASA and discover the history and future of space travel.
Biographies and History
- Guided Comprehension in Action: Teaching Summarizing With the Bio-Cube
Middle-level students learn the ins and outs of writing biographies by researching an astronaut or scientist and writing a summary of his or her life.
- A Biography Study: Using Role-Play to Explore Authors’ Lives
Secondary students read biographies and explore websites of selected American authors and then role-play as the authors. Adapt this lesson to ask students to consider space pioneers like Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Sally Ride.
- Biographies: Creating Timelines of a Life
Elementary students explore a number of sources to create a biographical timeline about a selected person. Students collaboratively research and resolve conflicting information they find during their investigation.
- Acrostic Poems
Have students write acrostic poems about Neil Armstrong, one of the scientists working on the Curiosity mission, or another person who explores outer space with the Acrostic Poem tool.
Family Activities on Space Exploration
- Blast Off to Learn New Words
Boost vocabulary by taking an imaginary trip into space. After a lunar “landing,” children return to Earth with a galaxy of new words.
- Mars Hotel
Tap interest in the Curiosity mission with Science NetLinks’ 60-second Science Update. When the Apollo astronauts went to the moon, the trip took only about three days. A trip to Mars, on the other hand, would take many months—and space travel isn’t known for its luxuries.
- How Will Future Astronauts Travel To Outer Space?
Where do you think the next frontier in space exploration is? What type of spacecraft would we need to get there? Put your imagination and your artistic talents to the test with this challenge from Wonderopolis.
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[Photo: Farewell, Neil Armstrong (1930 - 2012). Apollo 11 Mission image - View of the Lunar Module at Tranquility Base. Image taken by Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong during the Apollo 11 Mission. Armstrongs shadow is visible in foreground. Credit: NASA by NASA Goddard Photo and Video, on Flickr]