Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Space Disasters
Ask students to identify space tragedies, such as the 1986 Challenger explosion, the 2002 Columbia explosion, Apollo 7, and the near miss of Apollo 13. Discuss space exploration and its costs, tragedies, and successes. Ask: Is space exploration a valid use of taxpayers' dollars?
Outline the Opportunity
Direct students to the topic Marc Garneau: Canadian Space Pioneer on the CBC Digital Archives website. Allow students time to review the whole site, and to review the clip "Canadian Hero" in its entirety. Students will then research space disasters, both online and in print.
Students will write a 2- to 3-page position paper on the following premise: Space exploration is necessary regardless of its human and financial costs. Students may choose to take an affirmative position or a negative position depending on their assessment of the data available.
Revisit and Reflect
Divide the students into two groups: those who defended space exploration and those who were opposed. Each group will develop a list of points to support its opinion. After the groups have developed their lists, allow them to debate the issue informally.
Students can write a letter to their member of Parliament or the Canadian Space Agency expressing their views on the Canadian space program. Students can use their position papers as a starting point, but should revise them to suit the format of a formal letter.