The Space Race cold war lesson

The Space Race

The Space Race was a competition between the United States and the Soviet Union to demonstrate superiority in space exploration during the Cold War era. This exciting and significant event in history not only pushed the boundaries of technology, but also played a major role in the ongoing rivalry between the two superpowers.

One of the key figures in the Space Race was Wernher von Braun, a German-American aerospace engineer who played a major role in the development of the first successful American satellite, Explorer 1. Another important figure was President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958 to oversee the United States’ space program.

On the Soviet side, Nikita Khrushchev was the leader who pushed for the Soviet Union to compete in the Space Race. In 1961, the Soviet Union made history with the launch of Yuri Gagarin, the first human to journey into outer space.

The Space Race reached its climax in 1969, when the United States successfully landed astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin on the Moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission. President John F. Kennedy, who had set the goal of landing a man on the Moon before the end of the 1960s, famously declared, “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

In this lesson plan, students will be introduced to the Space Race and its significance during the Cold War era through various activities such as watching short films, analyzing primary sources, and engaging in critical thinking exercises. They will also have the opportunity to conduct mini-research tasks and create visual presentations to showcase their understanding of the topic.

Overall, the Space Race was a fascinating and important chapter in history that not only demonstrated the advancements in technology but also the ongoing rivalry between the United States and Soviet Union during the Cold War. By studying this topic, students will gain a deeper understanding of the events that shaped our world during this time period.

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Resource Information

Description:Student activities include short films, source analysis, critical thinking and a mini-research task and visual presentation.
Estimated lessons:2-3.
Ages14-18 years.
Format PowerPoint.

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