Fifty years after the first lunar landing stories of the pioneer astronauts never fail to elicit excitement and awe. Pohlen's text is broken down into seven parts, beginning with the Gemini program and concluding with the scientific missions in the early 1970s. The text contains a timeline, a list of NASA acronyms, and additional resources. Included activities are simple enough to complete at home, such as moon gazing utilizing online resources. Classroom lessons could also incorporate the frozen rocket experiment, use math to calculate the distance to the moon, or create balloon rockets as makerspace projects. Previously unmentioned individuals like Margaret Hamilton and Katherine Johnson are included. Chapters cover the history of the first Apollo program including scientific terminology with everyday vernacular for students and educators. Pohlen's work has drama, reads like literary nonfiction, and would be fabulous for reluctant readers. Each launch builds on the next and includes conversations with spouses, astronauts, witnesses like Charles Lindbergh, scandals surrounding Irwin and Grissom, as well as what happened to the astronauts after their missions. This title could be taught in history units about Kennedy and the Cold War or in science classes regarding the troubleshooting undertaken during the Apollo 13 mission. Pop culture enthusiasts will also enjoy reading about when astronauts met the Star Trek cast or learning about which mission was overshadowed by the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Overall, this a captivating and easy-to-read overview of the US space program.
In 1961, President Kennedy issued a challenge: before the end of the decade, the United States would land a person on the moon and return him safely to Earth—a bold proclamation at the time given that only one US astronaut had ever been to space, for just 15 minutes. To answer President
Kennedy's call, NASA embarked on the Apollo missions: a complicated, dangerous, and expensive adventure involving 400,000 people. Before the missions were over, NASA astronauts had made eleven Apollo flights, six of which landed on the moon, and eight astronauts had lost their lives.
The Apollo Missions for Kids tells the story of this pivotal era in space exploration from the perspective of those who lived it—the astronauts and their families, the controllers and engineers, and the technicians and politicians who made the impossible possible. The book includes a time line, resources for further study, and places to visit to see Apollo mission artifacts, along with 21 hands-on activities to better understand the missions and the science behind them. Kids will:
- Determine what they would weigh on the moon
- Learn to identify the moon's features
- Demonstrate orbital mechanics with a marble and a shallow bowl
- Calculate how far away the moon is using sports equipment
- Recreate the shape and size of the command module
- Eat like an astronaut and make "space food"
- Design a mission patch
- And much more!