Subject(s) Science --Space Science
The U.S. hopes to resume manned flights to the moon.
Before reading, ask students to agree or disagree with each of the statements below.
Talk about the words in the News Word Box on the students' news page. Have students use one of the words in the box to complete each sentence below.
Read the News
Click for a printable version of this week's news story Return to the Moon.
More Facts to Share
You might share these additional facts with students after they have read this week's news story:
Back in 1972, when U.S. astronauts last explored the moon, their journeys were quick ones. (The longest mission to the moon, aboard Apollo 17, was 75 hours.) The new spaceship will enable astronauts to stay on the moon for four to seven days. This time, according to NASA, "we're going to stay, building outposts and paving the way for eventual journeys to Mars and beyond."
The new moon CEV (crew exploration vehicle) will be shaped like an Apollo space capsule, but it will be different in many ways:
Share an artist's drawing of the CEV as it docks with the International Space Station. Notice how it is shaped like the old Apollo except for the solar panels that extend from it.
The winged space shuttles that are currently used to carry astronauts into space are designed for use in low-Earth orbit; they are inappropriate for moon exploration. The shuttles are designed for re-entry from an Earth orbital speed of 17,500 mph, not the 25,000 mph speed required of a moon mission. Currently, there is no thermal protection system that would protect the shuttles' wings from such a high heat load.
Revisit the Anticipation Guide at the top of this lesson; ask students to respond again to the statements in it.
You might follow-up that activity with some of these questions:
Think About the News
Discuss the Think About the News questions that appear on the students' news page. Many people say that we should put money used to build new space vehicles toward solving other problems in America (for example, rebuilding New Orleans after the flood, solving issues of poverty, improving our schools). "The space program is a long-term investment in our future," counters NASA administrator Michael Griffin. "We must deal with our short-term problems while not sacrificing our long-term investments in our future." NASA officials say the moon provides many opportunities to develop technologies and techniques needed for opening the space frontier. It allows us to learn how to survive long-term stays in other worlds. This will build confidence that we can stay on the surface of another planet for longer periods of time and ultimately venture to Mars.
History. Relive the day in history -- July 20, 1969 -- when Neil Armstrong became the first person to step foot on the moon by taking students on a virtual tour of the Apollo 11 mission.
Science. Have students use library or Internet resources, such as Sea and Sky's Space Exploration Timeline, to sequence the following events in space history. (The year in which each event took place appears in parentheses.) Students might work in groups to complete this activity.
Use the Comprehension Check (above) as an assessment. Or have students work on their own (in their journals) or in their small groups to respond to the Think About the News questions on the students' news story page or in the Comprehension Check section.
Lesson Plan SourceEducation World
National StandardsNational Standards
GRADES K - 4
NS.K-4.4 Earth and Space Science
GRADES 5 - 8
NS.5-8.4 Earth and Space Science
GRADES 9 - 12
NS.9-12.4 Earth and Space Science
See recent news stories in Education World's News Story of the Week Archive.
Article by Gary Hopkins
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