Spring 2020 Education Series
JFK Library Teaching and Learning Tuesdays
From the Library's Department of Education and Public Programs Team
May 5, 2020 (Week 6)
The "Race for Space"


Celebrating National Teachers Day and featuring primary sources, lesson plans, activities and more focusing on the past, present, and future of space exploration
Happy National Teachers Day!
"Today, the fate of individuals and nations rests upon education. In a real and immediate sense, the teachers of America hold our future in their hands."

John F. Kennedy

The Department of Education and Public Programs staff thank you for all you do, especially during these extraordinary times.
Ready-to-Go Resources
Elementary School
Lesson Plan
Race to the Moon Chronology Game
Grades 2 - 5
Students use an informational text and a time line to examine how Cold War tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union turned early space exploration into the “Space Race.” They practice putting key events in chronological order by playing a card game.
Elementary & Middle School
Space Quest: Become a Kennedy Era Space Expert
Grades 1 - 8
Students can view archival footage of the first American spaceflight, visit a space media gallery, learn an excerpt from one of President Kennedy’s most historic speeches, and access an online version of the Museum’s space exhibit. For an extra challenge, they can answer a bonus question about each resource.
Middle School
Lesson Plan
Why Choose the Moon? 
Grades 7 - 9  
On May 25, 1961, President Kennedy asked Congress to dedicate 7-9 billion dollars to the space program with the goal of sending humans to the Moon before the end of the decade. In this lesson, students use a letter written by 13-year-old Mary Lou Reitler to President Kennedy and the White House’s response to examine some of the reasons given in support of and in opposition to President Kennedy’s Moon mission.
High School
Lesson Plan
Grades 9 - 12
On May 5, 1961, the US launched its first astronaut into space, following the successful first manned spaceflight by the USSR. In this lesson, students do a close reading of four primary sources related to the US space program in 1961, analyzing how and why public statements made by the White House regarding space may have differed from private statements made within the Kennedy Administration.

Image credit: NASA
Forum Spotlight
Watch and Discuss a Past Forum
NASA: From the Moon to Mars and Beyond
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing, Apollo 11 Lunar Command Module pilot  Michael Collins , former NASA administrator  Charles Bolden , former director of the Johnson Space Center  Ellen Ochoa , and former NASA deputy administrator  Dava Newman  discussed NASA’s past, present, and future with National Air and Space Museum director  Ellen Stofan . The program was supported in part by Raytheon Company and Draper.
Kennedy Library Forums are webcast live and recorded whenever possible. Written transcripts of most recorded events are also available. View our past Forums or visit our YouTube channel to view past Forums.
Activity of the Week
Astronaut Puppets
Spacesuits allow humans to survive in outer space -- helping astronauts breathe, regulate body temperature, and communicate to make repairs and conduct experiments away from Earth. Introduce your students to examples of spacesuits that NASA engineers have developed for different space activities. Your students can learn how to suit up for space while they color a spacesuit and create an astronaut puppet. Deepen their learning by watching a spacesuit demonstration at the JFK Library by NASA engineer Su Curley.
Additional JFK Library Resources
Presentations covering a wide variety of space topics
Image credit: NASA
Watch presentations from the JFK Space Fest 2019 on July 20th honoring the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing:

  • Dr. Franklin Chang Díaz - Former NASA astronaut, and founder and CEO of the Ad Astra Rocket Company
  • Daniel Burbank - Former NASA astronaut and current Senior Technical Fellow for Mission Systems at Collins Aerospace Systems
  • Su Curley - NASA Engineer, focusing on crew survival spacesuits and hardware for the Orion Program
  • Dr. Lonnie Johnson - Founder of Johnson Research and Development Co., Inc, and holder of over 100 patents, including the Super Soaker®
In Case You Missed It...
JFK Library's Teaching and Learning Tuesdays 4/28
Last week's resource guide featured the "Plant a Tree" and "Federal Budget Simulation" lesson plans, "Crossing Borders through Learning and Literature" resources, A Conversation with Ban Ki-Moon Forum, the "Colonial Couture" activity, and the "At-Home Learning" resource guides from the National Archives.

In addition, all past emails from this series are available on the Library's website.
Suggestions or Feedback?
Interested in a particular topic or type of resource? Reply to this email and let us know what you are looking for and we will do our best to incorporate it into this weekly guide!

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John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
Columbia Point, Boston, MA 02125
(617) 514-1600
Open 7 Days 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.