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Black History, Science, and Exploring Space with Maps101

Posted on February 27 2022

Black History, Science, and Exploring Space with Maps101

Dear Educator,

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA for short, was established in 1958 by President Eisenhower, the year after the Soviet Union (Russia today) launched Sputnik, the first satellite in space. As a result of NASA’s work, the United States was the first country to successfully land a person on the moon with the Apollo program. NASA sought the best to achieve this success. Black mathematician Katherine Johnson was one of the best. She was asked to join NASA’s team to help calculate the Apollo orbital mission.  Then, decades later, astronaut Mae Jameson was the first African American woman to travel to space when she served on the crew for the shuttle Endeavor’s launch in 1992. Help students learn more about these achievements by these African American women, as well as space exploration, through your Maps101 subscription.

Geography News Network

We are looking at the end of Black History Month AND kicking off Women’s History Month by taking a look at Katherine Johnson this week in GNN. Johnson had a career at NASA that spanned 33 years. She could master complex calculations. She also pioneered using computers. NASA has recognized Johnson for her vital, historic role at the space agency. Use the questions at the end of this GNN article as a jumping-off point for classroom discussion on Katherine Johnson in this week’s GNN article.

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Geography News Network

To understand NASA’s origination and function, it is important to learn about the role of the Soviet’s launch of Sputnik and the ensuing Space Race during the Cold War. This article helps students understand the background of this era in U.S. history.

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Geography News Network

In 1962, President Kennedy proclaimed that the U.S. would land a person on the moon before the end of the decade. NASA went to work on the Apollo program, which was designed to do just that. And, importantly for the Space Race and the United States, NASA was successful with the landing of Apollo 11 with astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon. Have students read this GNN article to better reflect on Katherine Johnson’s role in Apollo 11’s success.

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Field Trip Library

This interactive Field Trip takes students on a journey through human’s exploration of space. Topics included in this Field Trip are: the first satellite, the politics of space exploration, the Apollo program, beyond Apollo, other countries exploring space, the future of space exploration, and more.

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Geography News Network

Mae Jemison, who is originally from Alabama, became the first African American woman to travel in space. In addition to being an astronaut, Jemison is also a doctor and engineer. After Sally Ride became the first woman in space, Jemison decided to apply to the NASA astronaut program. She was selected and trained at the Kennedy Space Center, in Florida. Have students learn more about this remarkable woman in this week’s GNN article.

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This is a small sample of the kind of content available to you with your Maps101 subscription. Every week, the editors at Maps101 will provide you with highlights from our extensive collection in this GeoJournal newsletter. We suggest you make a folder to store them for future reference. Expand your students’ world with Maps101!

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