ALEX Learning Activity


Happy Anniversary Apollo 11!

A Learning Activity is a strategy a teacher chooses to actively engage students in learning a concept or skill using a digital tool/resource.

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  This learning activity provided by:  
Author: Ginger Boyd
System:Geneva County
School:Samson Middle School
  General Activity Information  
Activity ID: 2415
Happy Anniversary Apollo 11!
Digital Tool/Resource:
Apollo 11: The First Landing on the Moon, July 16-24, 1969 from ABC/YouTube
Web Address – URL:

In this learning activity, students will watch a video of the original Apollo 11 moon landing from July 16, 1969. The teacher will read aloud an article titled "This is How the Space Race Changed the Great Power Rivalry Forever" from The National Interest. After reading the article, the teacher will lead a brief discussion about the rivalry between Russia and the United States referred to as the "Space Race".  Students will then break off into groups and conduct a mock television interview with the three astronauts from Apollo 11.  

This activity results from the ALEX Resource Development Summit.

  Associated Standards and Objectives  
Content Standard(s):
Social Studies
SS2010 (2010)
Grade: 6
United States Studies: The Industrial Revolution to the Present
8 ) Describe how the United States' role in the Cold War influenced domestic and international events.

•  Describing the origin and meaning of the Iron Curtain and communism
•  Recognizing how the Cold War conflict manifested itself through sports
Examples: Olympic Games, international chess tournaments, Ping-Pong diplomacy

•  Identifying strategic diplomatic initiatives that intensified the Cold War, including the policies of Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy
Examples: trade embargoes, Marshall Plan, arms race, Berlin blockade and airlift, Berlin Wall, mutually assured destruction, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Warsaw Pact, Cuban missile crisis, Bay of Pigs invasion

•  Identifying how Cold War tensions resulted in armed conflict
Examples: Korean Conflict, Vietnam War, proxy wars

•  Describing the impact of the Cold War on technological innovations
Examples: Sputnik; space race; weapons of mass destruction; accessibility of microwave ovens, calculators, and computers

•  Recognizing Alabama's role in the Cold War (Alabama)
Examples: rocket production at Redstone Arsenal, helicopter training at Fort Rucker (Alabama)

•  Assessing effects of the end of the Cold War Era
Examples: policies of Mikhail Gorbachev; collapse of the Soviet Union; Ronald W. Reagan's foreign policies, including the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI or Star Wars)

Unpacked Content
Strand: Economics, Geography, History, Civics and Government
Course Title: United States Studies: The Industrial Revolution to the Present
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
  • Compare and contrast democracy and communism.
  • Describe the origins and meaning of the Iron Curtain.
  • Recognize the emerging roles of the super powers in influencing cultural, economic, and military changes throughout the world.
  • Recognize Alabama's role in the Cold War.
  • Summarize how the Cold War influenced domestic and foreign policy.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Cold War
  • domestic
  • international
  • Iron Curtain
  • communism
  • democracy
  • embargo
  • blockade
  • diplomacy
  • strategic diplomatic initiative
  • proxy war
  • destruction
  • invasion
  • crisis
  • weapons of mass destruction
  • Strategic Defense Initiative
Students know:
  • How the role the U.S. played in the Cold War influenced domestic and foreign policy.
Students are able to:
  • Appraise the value of technological advances during the Cold War.
  • Cite specific textual evidence to analyze the influence of the super powers on cultural, technological, and political changes during the Cold War.
Students understand that:
  • The United States played an important role in the Cold War and this influenced U.S. domestic and foreign policy.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SS.AAS.6.8- Define the Cold War; identify how after World War II, the United States became a military superpower and a leader in world affairs along with the Soviet Union; identify at least one goal and at least one challenge of the United States during the Cold War.
SS.AAS.6.8a- Identifying Alabama's role in the Cold War.

Learning Objectives:

The students will be able to describe the impact of the Cold War, specifically the space race, on technological innovations.

  Strategies, Preparations and Variations  

This activity would work best if taught after introducing concepts of the Cold War.

Remind the students that it is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Show the students the YouTube video:  Apollo 11: "The First Landing on the Moon, July 16-24 1969 from ABC."

The teacher will ask, "What if you had a chance to ask those astronauts a question, what would you ask?" Give students time to respond. Then say, "Today, you will sort of get your chance because we are going to 'pretend or role play' that we are news reporters interviewing those three astronauts."

First, let's talk about some reasons Apollo 11 landed on the Moon.

Read the article from The National Interest: "This is How the Space Race Changed the Great Power Rivalry Forever" aloud to the class. After reading the article, lead a brief discussion about the rivalry between Russia and the United States referred to as the Space Race.  

Then distribute the index cards (one per student) and ask the students to write 1 question they would like to ask the astronauts about the moon landing. The students will have 10 minutes to write their question.  

Next, the teacher should choose three students to pretend to be Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins. The rest of the students will pretend to be television news reporters. The students pretending to be news reporters will sit on one side of the room and the students pretending to be the three astronauts will sit at a table at the front of the room facing the news reporters. The teacher will call on the news reporters to interview the astronauts. After a predetermined amount of time, students may rotate positions (astronauts and news reporters if you choose).

Remind students that on a TV interview program, personalities use facial expressions, actions, humor, and props to entertain the audience.  

After most questions have been answered, the teacher will write the following question on the board:  "What impact do you think the Cold War, specifically the Space Race had on technological advances?" Students will write this question and their answer on the back of their index card along with their name and turn it into the teacher (this will be their exit slip).

Assessment Strategies:

Students will be assessed on their exit slip written on the back of their index card. Students should be able to identify at least one way the Space Race impacted technological advancement during the Cold War. 

Advanced Preparation:

You will need one index card for each student.

Variation Tips (optional):

You may want to show the students this video of President John F. Kennedy making a speech about the space race: JFK Moon Speech.

Notes or Recommendations (optional):
  Keywords and Search Tags  
Keywords and Search Tags: Apollo 11, Cold War, moon landing, space exploration, space race