Inspiring Astronauts: Christina Koch and Jessica Meir
In this reading and writing lesson plan, first and second graders will learn about two inspiring astronauts: Christina Koch and Jessica Meir. Students will watch an interview with the astronauts, read a short text about travelling to space, and answer questions about what they read. For an added challenge, students can conduct independent research to find out more about the topic of astronauts and spacewalks. This lesson plan is a great way to engage children during Women's History Month.
- Students will be able to read an informational text.
- Students will be able to answer questions about a text.
- Ask students to share what they know about astronauts. Write their responses on the chart paper labeled "What I Know About Astronauts."
- Now ask students what they wonder about astronauts. Write their questions on the chart paper labeled "What I Wonder About Astronauts."
- Tell students that today they will be learning about two inspiring astronauts, Christina Koch and Jessica Meir. By learning about these women, students will expand their knowledge of astronauts.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher modeling(20 minutes)
- Tell students that Christina Koch and Jessica Meir participated in the first all-female spacewalk in October 2019. Before this date, other women had done spacewalks, but there had never been an all-female spacewalk before.
- Show the first 10 minutes of the video interview of Koch and Meir.
- After watching the video, ask students to revisit their questions about astronauts. Ask them if any of their questions were answered and/or if they would like to add additional questions to the list.
Guided practise(5 minutes)
- Tell students that they are going to read a short paragraph about Meir and Koch, then answer questions about travelling to space.
- Show students a copy of The First All-Female Spacewalk worksheet. Point out the paragraph and the questions that they will answer.
Independent working time(15 minutes)
- Pass out a copy of The First All-Female Spacewalk worksheet to each student. Have students work independently to complete the worksheets.
- As students work, circulate around the room to provide assistance with reading and/or answering the questions.
- Challenge students to research their questions about astronauts. Assist students in finding websites and books that can help them answer the questions.
- Have students draw pictures of themselves in spacesuits.
- Have students work in a small, teacher-led group during Independent Work Time.
- Have students work with a partner to complete the worksheet.
- Collect student worksheets and assess them for understanding.
Review and closing(5 minutes)
- Bring the students back together as a whole group.
- Review students' worksheet responses together. Ask for volunteers to share their answers to each question.
- If time allows, display students' completed worksheets. Ask the class to share what they notice and wonder about the pictures students drew of the earth.