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NASA Challenger Lesson Plans

Aug 01, 2019 2019-08-01

STEM • STEAM • STREAM

Astronaut’s Lost Lessons Brought to Life

Christa McAuliffe, the first teacher chosen to go into space, planned to distribute science and engineering lessons and share demonstrations with students around the world. She, along with the other crewmembers of flight STS-51, died when their Challenger shuttle exploded 73 seconds into flight. Now McAuliffe’s “lost lessons” have been updated and made available to teachers. The initiative is a project of the Challenger Center, which reaches thousands of students every year through experiential STEM education programs. Working with NASA and its STEM on Station, the Challenge Center has completed several of the lessons McAuliffe had planned to present. The updated demonstrations were filmed aboard the International Space Station, and corresponding lessons were developed for classrooms. The topics of these lessons address effervescence, chromatography, liquids in microgravity, and Newton’s laws. Six scripted experiments include explanatory videos, standards alignment, a materials list, setup information, and step-by-step instructions. Using these activities from the “lost lessons,” teachers can replicate what McAuliffe was unable to share from orbit.

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