Challenger Center, a leading science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education organization, partnered with STEM on Station and NASA to complete Teacher in Space Christa McAuliffe’s lost lessons. International Space Station crew member Ricky Arnold has been filming the lessons over the last several months.
Christa’s lost lessons can be used in all classrooms, regardless of the age level. While we have developed the accompanying lesson plans to be appropriate for middle school grades, older or younger students can enjoy learning about the mission of the Challenger crew and follow along with NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold as he performs the lessons on the space station.
Lessons can be used in full, or teachers could use the videos to prompt discussions or have students practice making predictions and forming a hypothesis—something we all do at the beginning of the year in science, regardless of age level! The first video, which is focused on chromatography, could also be used as a compare-and-contrast lesson. At a level appropriate for the grade, teachers can ask students to compare and contrast what happens in microgravity on the International Space Station versus what happens with the same materials on Earth. This is also a great time to introduce or review using graphic organizers, such as Venn diagrams, or to practice note taking skills that will benefit students all year long.
As a student watching the live broadcast in 1986, being able share the Challenger crew’s legacy with another generation is an honor. Christa inspired a generation of teachers and students to look up and wonder. I’m so excited that we are able to bring to life her original lessons and share them with today’s students.
To download Christa McAuliffe’s lost lessons for free, visit www.challenger.org/christa. For more information about Challenger Center, please visit www.challenger.org or connect on Facebook and Twitter.