NASA History

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The lesson introduces students to the history of NASA and the space program in the United States.  Most students are aware of space flight, journeys to the moon, and exploration of the planets, but do not know the full history of NASA.  The lesson discusses the origins of NASA and the beginnings of space exploration in the U.S.  In addition, the technology of the space program, which has influenced the everyday life of people throughout the world, are highlighted.  The lesson may be used in conjunction with other lessons related to astronomy.

NASA History Lesson Plan Includes:

  • Full Teacher Guidelines with Creative Teaching Ideas
  • Instructional Content Pages about NASA History
  • Hands-on homework activities
  • Answer Keys
  • Common Core State Standards
  • Many Additional Links and Resources
  • Built for Grades 4-6 but can be adapted for other grade levels.

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Description

This lesson, which introduces to the history of NASA and the space program in the United States will fascinate your students who are already intrigued by space.  Most students are aware of space flight, journeys to the moon, and exploration of the planets, but do not know the full history of NASA.  The lesson discusses the origins of NASA and the beginnings of space exploration in the U.S.  Students will likely be surprised by the amount of technology they use every day that was originally developed for the space program.  The lesson may be used in conjunction with other lessons related to space and astronomy.

Sample Classroom Procedure / Teacher Instruction: 

  1. Display the letters NASA. Ask students if they know the meaning of the acronym. (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)
  2. Allow for responses. Ask students to share as much information as possible about the organization.  What is it?  What do they do?  Where is it located?  And other questions.
  3. Allow for responses and discussion. Ask students if they believe NASA has influenced their everyday lives.  Why or why not?
  4. Allow for responses and discussion. Refer to a cell phone or other computer and tell students that without NASA, the cell phone may not exist in its same form of today.  Introduce NASA History.
  5. Distribute NASA History content pages. Read and review the information with the students.  Save the final question for the lesson closing.  Use the additional resources to enhance understanding.
  6. Distribute Activity page. Read and review the instructions.  Pair students.  Distribute supplies.  Encourage students to be creative and the poster should persuade people that the NASA program is important and useful.  (Showing images of some products would be helpful, as well as images showing space travel.)
  7. Once completed, the students will display their posters to the class, sharing the information aloud.
  8. Distribute Practice page. Check and review the students’ responses.
  9. Distribute the Homework page. The next day, check and review the students’ responses.
  10. In closing, ask students: As you read through some of the items developed by the space program, what do you find to be the most important and necessary product for the world?  Why?

Common Core State Standards:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.2, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3 CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.4, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.2, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.4, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6.2, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6.4, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6.7

Class Sessions (45 minutes):  at least 2 class sessions

Additional Resources: 

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Additional information

Grade Level

4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade

Subject

Social Studies