This module is designed to highlight the many contributors to the advancements in space science--those who most often receive recognition and those who are often overlooked. To set up this juxtaposition for students, Unit 1 is designed to provide background information about the Space Race of the 1960s, featuring popular accounts of this historic course of events. Students generate excitement about the topic by watching videos, viewing images, and reading primary sources about the Space Race, a competition between the United States and the Soviet Union to be the first country to land an astronaut on the moon. Students learn how the Space Race supported advancements in math and science and notice which figures are highlighted in these sources.
As students build their background knowledge, they practice citing text evidence, identifying central idea(s), and determining the points of view expressed in the different texts. Critical to their understanding of this time period is the exposure to varying perspectives, including those who believed the funds used to send humans to the moon could be better spent improving the lives of the destitute and depressed at home. Students learn to trace the arguments in these claims by identifying the evidence and reasoning that supports these views. Once students begin their reading of the anchor text, Hidden Figures (Young Readers' Edition) by Margot Lee Shetterly, in Unit 2, they will have the necessary background to better appreciate the contributions of the black women of NASA and how they impacted scientific and social progress in the face of both racial and gender discrimination.
Please note: For the 6-8 Language Arts Curriculum, there are Teaching Notes for each unit that contain helpful information for supporting English language learners. These overview notes complement the more specific English language learner supports and differentiated materials within each lesson. You will find the Teaching Notes in the Unit download below.