A classroom activity on S.T.E.M. with primary sources. "[Begin the lesson] with an overview of the history of STEM education. Then provide students with primary sources from the events that have been discussed. Have students place the events them on a spectrum of what they think had the greatest to least impact upon the development of S.T.E.M. and justify their order."
After World War II, there was non-violent, political hostility between the United States and the Soviet Union (USSR), which became known as the Cold War. During this contentious time, both nations created rockets for long-range military weaponry. The Cold War catalyzed the expansion of rocket technology and each countrys desire to conquer outer space. Not only did America want to explore one of the last frontiers, it also wanted to claim technological dominance over the USSR and ensure Americas title of superiority in a time of unease and tension. In 1955, the US and the USSR each announced plans to launch a satellite into orbit. Who would be the first to succeed? On October 4, 1957, the USSR launched Sputnik I into orbit, taking the lead in the Space Race. Only four months later, the US successfully launched its own satellite, the Explorer I, into space. In the wake of these first successful orbital space flights, President Dwight D. Eisenhower recommended to the US Congress that a civilian agency should be established to direct non-military space activities. Thus, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was born and the Space Race was underway. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the American space program and its new classes of astronauts achieved breakthroughs in science and space explorationeven sending a man to the Moon. This exhibition was created as part of the DPLAs Digital Curation Program by the following students in Professor Helene Williams's capstone course at the Information School at the University of Washington: Danielle Rios, Dianne Bohach, Jennifer Lam, and Bobbi deMontigny.
From 1945 to 1991, the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) engaged in the Cold War, a conflict in which the communist Soviet Union and the democratic United States competed for influence over countries around the world. During this era, the US and USSR also took their rivalry beyond earth into space through a series of aeronautic developments and flight tests known as the Space Race. After advances in defense technology during World War II and the United States’ use of atomic bombs, each side looked to propel its scientific and technological capability forward by building new missiles, rockets, and spacecraft. The Soviets had many early successes in the Space Race, including the launch of the first satellite, Sputnik (1957), and the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin (1961). However, the United States caught up and eventually overtook the Soviet Union, particularly when American astronaut Neil Armstrong and the crew of the Apollo 11 mission became the first humans to land on the moon in 1969.
- U.S. History
- Material Type:
- Primary Source
- Digital Public Library of America
- Provider Set:
- Commonwealth Certificate for Teacher ICT Integration
- James Walsh
- Date Added:
The space age began on October 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik-the first artificial satellite. Around the world, millions of people tuned their radios to hear it beeping or waited outside to watch it pass overhead.
On October 4, 1957, Americans were shaken by the idea that the Soviet Union launched a satellite that could orbit the world. Some could hear the 'beep' as Sputnik circled the globe, which heightened feelings of vulnerability and insecurity. Soviet Union propaganda went into overdrive and the United States went into offense mode, finding the ultimate motivation to reach the moon.
The sources could be used to assist the educator in explaining the political and emotional climate before and after the launch of Sputnik.
Students could design their own political cartoons or propaganda posters; in response to Sputnik toward the USSR or in trying to persuade the public of the need for expanding space technology.