Remarkable Accomplishments in Space Science | EL Education Curriculum

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In Unit 2, students selected and began conducting research about their focus figures: other important individuals in space science whose contributions have gone unrecognized. In Unit 3, they continue this research and prepare to write argument essays. First, they revisit the Painted Essay® to develop a deeper understanding of argument essay structure. As in previous modules, students deconstruct a model argument essay (about Dorothy Vaughan) and then complete a collaborative essay (about Mary Jackson or Katherine Johnson) that addresses a similar prompt. In each lesson, students examine aspects of the argument essay model and practice using it in their own writing. Using textual evidence about their focus figure (W.6.9), students generate sound argument essays (W.6.1, W.6.10) to answer the prompt: Why are my focus figure’s accomplishments remarkable?

After writing their independent essays for the mid-unit assessment, students move toward the culmination of the module: the development of a class picture book that highlights the key achievements of students’ chosen focus figures. In triads with their “crewmates,” students use narrative nonfiction writing techniques to produce three pages about their focus figures, complete with creative illustrations. Students then develop and deliver presentations, which serve as Part I of the End of Unit 3 Assessment. Students present their claims about why their focus figure’s accomplishments are remarkable, demonstrating appropriate presentation skills (SL.6.4) and a command of formal language (SL.6.6) and using their picture book illustrations as visual support (SL.6.5). As students listen to one another’s presentations, they practice delineating the arguments put forth by their classmates (SL.6.3). Part II of the assessment centers around a culminating discussion, during which students summarize and reflect upon key learning across the module (SL.6.1).

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.

CCS Standards

The Four Ts

  • Topic: Remarkable Accomplishments in Space Science
  • Task:
    • Write an argument essay about why the researched focus figure's accomplishments are remarkable, using reasons, evidence, and reasoning to defend a claim.
    • Present the narrative nonfiction picture book pages developed for the performance task, and trace the arguments presented by classmates.
    • Participate in a culminating discussion to summarize and reflect upon learning across the module.
  • Targets: RI.6.1, RI.6.3, RI.6.10, W.6.1, W.6.4, W.6.5, W.6.6, W.6.7, W.6.8, W.6.9b, W.6.10, SL.6.1, SL.6.3, SL.6.4, SL.6.5, SL.6.6, L.6.2, L.6.3, L.6.6
  • Texts: Hidden Figures (Young Readers' Edition) by Margot Lee Shetterly, Hidden Figures (Picture Book) by Margot Lee Shetterly


Each unit in the 6-8 Language Arts Curriculum has two standards-based assessments built in, one mid-unit assessment and one end of unit assessment. The module concludes with a performance task at the end of Unit 3 to synthesize students' understanding of what they accomplished through supported, standards-based writing.

Habits of Character/Social-Emotional Learning Focus

Central to the EL Education curriculum is a focus on "habits of character" and social-emotional learning. Students work to become effective learners, developing mindsets and skills for success in college, career, and life (e.g., initiative, responsibility, perseverance, collaboration); work to become ethical people, treating others well and standing up for what is right (e.g., empathy, integrity, respect, compassion); and work to contribute to a better world, putting their learning to use to improve communities (e.g., citizenship, service).

In this unit, students work to become effective learners by demonstrating perseverance as they complete their collaborative and independent argument essays. They closely analyze the model argument essay and apply their learning to their own work.

Students contribute to a better world through completion of the performance task. The children's picture book that students develop highlights and celebrates important figures in space science whose contributions have traditionally gone overlooked. By centering their focus figures' work in the picture book, students begin to right the wrong of this exclusion.


Each unit is made up of a sequence of between 10-18 lessons. The Unit-at-a-Glance charts, available on the grade-level landing pages, break down each unit's lessons, showing CCS standards, agenda breakdown, daily learning targets, and ongoing assessments. The charts also indicate which lessons include mid- and end of unit assessments and the performance task.

Texts and Resources to Buy

Texts and resources that need to be procured. Please download the Required Trade Books and Resources Procurement List for procurement guidance.

Text or Resource Quantity ISBNs
Hidden Figures (Picture Book)
by Margot Lee Shetterly
six per classroom
ISBN: 9780062742469
Hidden Figures (Young Readers’ Edition)
by Margot Lee Shetterly
one per student
ISBN: 9780062662378

Preparation and Materials

Review the Model Argument Essay: "Dorothy" (in Lesson 1) and Argument Writing Checklist (in Lesson 2) to become familiar with what students will be required to do in this unit.

Determine if students will be allowed to type their argument essays, and arrange the necessary devices for them to do so.

Considerations for the performance task:

  • Beginning in Lesson 11, students engage in a genre study of narrative nonfiction. Students use these texts as they create their performance tasks in the latter part of the unit. Procure a variety of texts for use in this lesson. Suggestions are included on the Characteristics of Narrative Nonfiction anchor chart in Lesson 11.

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