Explore the History of the United States' Manned Spaceflight Program
A WebQuest created by:
Introduction | Process | Resources | Conclusion | Task | Evaluation | Credits
Ever since early man gazed at the heavens on a starry night, people have dreamed of traveling into space. These dreams remained unrealized until the 20th century and the development of rocketry. What were the steps that lead to manned space flight? How and why did the US get into this business, and what was the course of its development?
Although other countries are involved in space flight, and the US also engages in unmanned flights, this quest is focused specifically on the history of the United States' manned space flight program.
Your assignment is to research the United States' manned space program and to construct a timeline of its development. You will work in groups of three. Your actual timeline may be either a PowerPoint presentation or a series of posters. Either format must include word processed descriptions and graphics. You will be evaluated on both the degree of detail you include and on the creativity of the project.
Your timeline should address the following items:
Why was the Department of Defense interested in space travel in the late 1940's?
Describe the IGA and its importance.
What role did the Cold War play in the development of NASA?
What was the "Sputnik Crisis" and what were the results of it?
Provide details of the Mercury and Gemini programs. Include information such as the number of flights, project goals, and significant achievements.
Provide details of the Apollo program. Include the same type of information as noted above. Were there any major failures in this program? Why did the program come to an end?
In 1975, a program called ASTP took place. What was it, and why was it significant?
Describe the Space Shuttle program. Include details of the philosophy behind the program and major successes and failures.
What was the Skylab program? When was it launched? What was its purpose? How many times was it used? What was the duration of these stays? What were its significant contributions to the space program? What was its fate?
Describe the International Space Station. What are the goals for it? What steps lead to its development? Who is involved? What do critics and and proponents of the program say about it? What does its future hold?
Based on the history of the United States' manned space flight program, what do you think its future holds?
The following sites will help you in your quest for knowledge:
A Brief history of NASA - http://www.hq.nasa.gov/ . Note: This is the first link you need to get the page you really want. From here, select the 'History' button. This takes you to the History Office's home page. Now select the 'NASA History in Brief' button. At the bottom of this page you will find a link to the NASA History Fact Sheet. Select this and it will take you to the Brief History of NASA page.
Another great link is the Kennedy Space Center History of Human Spaceflight - http://www-pao.ksc.nasa.gov/kscpao/history/history.htm
Let the search begin! You will have 2 weeks to conduct your research and to construct your timeline. Research groups will then make a presentation on an aspect of their timeline which they feel was significant.
Purpose: To create an exciting method for students to learn about the history of the United States' manned spaceflight program. The project will also enhance students' abilities to conduce research using the web and to assemble their findings into a tangible product.
Preceding and ensuing events of instruction: The study of other aspects of Space Science including learning about career opportunities, as well as delving into the nature of all aspects of our solar system, our galaxy, and the universe.
Learning improvements: These will occur because the students will have a degree of independence during the research phase of the project which should lead to a degree of intrinsic motivation. They will visit great websites and be able to view many captivating images. The learning will then be reinforced when the actual timeline is produced and again when their presentations are made. Students will be encouraged to exercise their creativity, as well as required to analyze information.
Improvements and expansions: Other aspects of space exploration could be addressed. These include the history of the Russian's manned spaceflight program along with all unmanned programs (by all countries involved) to explore the planets.
Standards: Science Curriculum Standards - Approved by the Tennessee State Board of Education - August 31, 2001 - Earth and Space Science - Content Standard: 7.0 Earth and its place in the universe - 6.7.tpi.7 Construct a timeline of the history of space exploration.
This project could be evaluated using a rubric such as the following:
|On Time?||yes||yes||yes||1 or 2 days late||2 or more days late|
|Detail of timeline||11 of 11 questions addressed in a fully developed & detailed manner||10 of 11 questions addressed in a fully developed & detailed manner||at least 9 of 11 questions addressed in a well developed & somewhat detailed manner||7 of 11 questions addressed in a superficial & incomplete manner||fewer than 7 questions addressed|
|Writing mechanics||Written clearly with no mechanical errors||Written clearly with no mechanical errors||Written fairly well with few mechanical errors||Poorly written with numerous mechanical errors||Poorly written with numerous mechanical errors|
|Use of graphics||Well chosen to enhance project||Well chosen to enhance project||Included but may be unrelated||Unrelated||Unrelated or missing|
|Creativity/ visual appeal||Eye candy! Inspiring to look at and easy to follow||Nice - It looks good and is easy to follow||Appealing to look at||Visually unappealing and/or hard to follow||Visually unappealing and/or hard to follow|
Garber, S. J., & Launius, R. D. (2002). A brief history of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Retrieved March 29,2003, from http://www.hq.nasa.gov/
Grinter, K. (2001). Kennedy Space Center. Retrieved March 23, 2003, from http://www-pao.ksc.nasa.gov/kscpao/history/history.htm