Use the Activities
The following activities will help students apply what they have learned about the cooperative work that went into the successful Apollo 11 mission.
Activity 1: Unexpected Benefits from Space Research
Activity 2: A Mission to Mars?
Divide students into groups of four or five, with each group using all they have learned about the Apollo 11 mission to make a list of what would be needed to plan a mission to Mars. Some topics to consider might include: research on Mars and space travel, design and manufacture of rockets, selection and training of astronauts, and life support and rescue.
Remind them that a Mars mission will be much more complicated than a trip to the Moon and back. It takes about three days to get to the Moon, but six months to a year will be needed to get to Mars. Radio signals make the round trip between the Earth and the Moon in 2.6 seconds, but it will take up to 41 minutes to exchange messages between the Earth and Mars. Astronauts on Mars will probably have to bring all of their own shelter, food, water, and breathable air with them.
There have already been many visits to explore the red planet, both from orbiting space crafts and from roving vehicles on the surface. Some students may want to study these missions and report back to the class about what they have revealed about conditions on Mars.
When the groups have completed their lists, have them combine their answers and then discuss the complexity and expense involved in developing a manned mission to Mars. Do they think the achievement would be worth the cost in money and the risk to human life? Would they like to be involved? Why or why not?
Activity 3: What Price History?
is the Rembrandt's easel of the space age. It was the last Earthly foothold for Neil Armstrong, Ed Aldrin and Mike Collins before they thundered off to the Moon. It pointed the way for the Skylab astronauts, for the Apollo-Soyuz voyagers, and for fliers of less renowned missions in the Magellan age of space.
Ask the students to discuss the following questions: What are the arguments for preserving the Apollo launch tower? What are the arguments for dismantling it? What makes a place historic? Ask them whether they think the age of a place has anything to do with people's willingness to see it as historic. Why or why not? Ask them whether they think equipment like this should be preserved or modified for future space flights, saving millions of dollars? If they are preserved, who should pay the cost of preserving them?
Divide students into groups and have each group try to find a "place" (a building, a transportation system, a park or other natural area, etc.) in their community that is associated with an important event that has occurred in their or their parents' lifetimes. Ask each group to share what information they have gathered, and then have the class as a whole decide if any or all of the "places" should be considered "historic" and, if so, should they be preserved and/or interpreted for future generations.
Following the discussion you might want to tell the students that the launch tower was eventually dismantled and stored. Parts of it have been re-erected as part of an interpretive exhibit at the Apollo/Saturn V Center on the grounds of the Kennedy Space Center. Ask the students whether they think this was an appropriate way to deal with the tower.