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Students learn the names of the stages of the U.S. Space Program in this musical lesson


Music, Science  


2, 3  

Title – Manned Space Travel

By – Sarah Lortie

Primary Subject – Science

Secondary Subjects – Music

Grade Level – 2nd-3rd


Objectives: The students will learn the names of the different stages of US space programs, and the progress made by each program.


  • Pictures of Gemini, Mercury, Apollo, Mir, shuttle spacecraft, the 1st monkey in space, and moon walk photos
  • Recording of song clips, moon transmission
  • 1969 newspaper
  • Shuttle model
  • Poster of mission chant
  • Poster of mission badges
  • Circles of paper, markers


  1. Start by playing clips of the “2001,” “Star Trek,” and “Star Wars” theme songs
  2. Ask the students if they know what they all have in common
  3. Exclaim that that’s correct, they all are from movies or shows about people in space
  4. Explain that here on Earth in 2002, however, we haven’t gotten as far in space travel as the movies and TV think we should have
  5. Show the picture and say that the first space missions were called Mercury, and the first American in space was Alan Shepard
  6. Pointing to the next pictures, explain that the second group of missions were called Gemini, because they had 2 people in each flight, and Gemini is a constellation of twins
  7. Explain that throughout the Mercury and Gemini missions we were just testing to see if we could even put people in space, and that since it was so dangerous and we didn’t know what was going to happen, the first thing to go into space was a monkey (show picture)
  8. Say that then after we knew we could do it we decided to try and go to the moon, and the missions to do this were called Apollo, and it took 11 missions before we landed on the moon
  9. Show pictures of moon landing, play tape of transmission, show newspaper
  10. Ask the children what they think should have happened next, since we accomplished our goal of a moon landing
  11. Explain that since we can’t breathe on other planets, our next step was to build a space station and make a ship that we could use over and over again
  12. Show model of a shuttle and explain that these can land back on Earth, so we can use them again, whereas with the old shuttles you just left pieces of them floating about in space and landed in a teeny weeny pod
  13. Remind everybody that although we have done great things with space travel, that there were some problems
  14. Discuss Apollo 1, 13, and Challenger
  15. Say that however, overall we’ve done a pretty good job of space travel, and now we even have a space station (show pictures of Mir)
  16. For review, teach the space missions chant:

    There’s Mercury, Gemini,

    Apollo and then

    The shuttles that

    Come back again!
  17. Show poster of mission badges
  18. Hand out circles of paper and have children make their own badges that feature the 1 item that they would take in space with them
  19. Proudly display the badges on the walls

Assessment: The children are successful if they can remember that Mercury missions were the first ones, Gemini missions had two people, Apollo missions went to the moon, and shuttle missions bring the shuttle back again.


Sarah Lortie


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