[nobe-l] Telling the Apollo 11 Story to a Younger Audience

J Acheson listsetal at aol.com
Mon Aug 13 04:32:37 UTC 2018

Wow this all sounds so very cool. I had even written an email in response to the issue about representing the moon phases, but I gave such a detailed description that I deleted it before I sent it. Anyway, there are a number of things that you could do with this and you could even build on the activities that will allow the students to gain an understanding of the phases of the moon. Specifically that is how a sphere appears at a significant distance because the students should also be made aware of how the astronauts saw the earth while they were on the moon. 

As for Apollo 11, How far are you from the Goddard space Center? You could incorporate a trip to this facility one day. In addition, you can go online and get models of the rocket and landing modules for students to observe tactilely and visually. 

Activity 1 - The spacesuit
Materials needed: disposable coveralls pre-cut for appropriate length in arms and legs.
Shoe booties 
Plastic/food preparation gloves 
A few backpacks 
Several bicycle helmets of appropriate sizes, but larger is better. 
Colorful tape 

Process for activity 1
To get the idea of a space suit, check with a local power company, air-conditioning company, etc. and see if you can get paper coveralls donated. Next, go to a hospital or other medical facility and see about getting the foot coverings worn by medical personnel. Finally, go to almost any restaurant and get plastic gloves donated. 

Have the students put on the paper coveralls and then the booties, and then have them tape the booties and the bottom of the leg of the coveralls together. Next, if possible, tape the gloves to the arms of the coverall. I realize, as many readers may also realize, that some students may panic at the thought or feeling of having the booties and gloves taped to the coveralls. Naturally this needs to be done with much care or could just be left out and explain to the students that in a real space suit there would be no openings between the hands and arms and the feet and legs. Of course, you could consider using just a couple pieces of colorful tape to represent the attachment. 

Obviously, this helps to demonstrate how the spacesuit had to be sealed. 

If you don’t have enough backpacks for each student, (although it would make a great giveaway) let students take turns wearing a backpack and explain that this would contain the oxygen and nitrogen they needed to breathe while outside the spacecraft walking around on the moon. 

Finally, put on a bicycle helmet and you now have your space suit! Well this will take time it will be a lot of fun for the age group you have mentioned. It will be chaotic but they will learn. Oh, don’t forget to remind students that if they have a hole in their suit or if any part of it disconnects while they are outside walking on the moon, they would die. 

Activity 2 - Communication
Several sets of walkie-talkies or even more sophisticated radio equipment. 
Give students the opportunity to listen to some of the communications between Apollo 11, or any Mission. Ask students to describe the difference in sound between these recordings and how they talk on the phone these days. Be sure to point out that we now have conference calls and video chats were several people can participate at the same time. 
Now, give the students a few rules in communicating with the walkie-talkies/radios. Emphasize some of the terms the astronauts had to use. Point out that you cannot interrupt the person who is speaking, everybody must take their turn otherwise nobody will be heard. 
Have a group leader go into another room with a walkie-talkie and in the activity room have one student use a walkie-talkie with whatever support may be needed to help the student, and engage in communication. One fine example of this might be to have the student pretend they are ordering their favorite meal at a local restaurant. The teacher who is off in a separate room can interrupt the student to show how they won’t be heard and the assistant helping the student can have the student interrupt. This will help all of your participants to understand how the astronauts had to remain calm and speak clearly and listen very carefully to Mission control. 

Activity 3 - walking on the moon
Bounce house or trampoline 

OK, I realize that you already know where I am going with this one. This helps students gain a kinesthetic understanding of the lack of gravity. Naturally, what needs to be emphasized here is that the astronauts did not fall down, but they did have the ability to bounce. This would be a great break for the kids, and opportunity to expend energy. 

Activity 4 – food 
Material: Get some astronaut ice cream for a snack. 
Explain to students that everything the astronauts ate had to be contained in something and go from the container directly into their mouth‘s without a knife fork or spoon. Ask them if they can think of anything that is in a container that can go directly into their mouth. Help them to go beyond a soda bottle. Have catchup and mustard or barbecue sauce packets and demonstrate these. Have one of the liquid yogurt, and other food items may be used to demonstrate this. Of course, you must then ask them what it would be like to have to suck meat loaf out of a tube ha ha. If you can find some Tang (R) (orange juice mix) serve it at breakfast one day and let them know that was a drink the astronauts used to take up into space. At least that is what we always heard on their commercials. 

Activity number 5 – the vacuum of space 
Vacuum cleaner with a hose 
Several vacuum storage bags 
Doll, stuffed animal, or something to represent a person. 
Optional materials: 
Food saver machine, food saver bags, pieces of fruit such as apples. 

Begin by explaining that a vacuum is an absence of atmosphere, or keep it really simple and say it is the absence of air. You need to taylor this to the intellectual level of your group. Naturally, you know this and you’ve had to do this all along through these activities. 

It is often helpful to teach what something is by teaching what it is not. 

Turn on a hair dryer to the coolest setting. Have students feel the air coming out. Encourage them to describe what they feel. Hopefully they will say there is air coming out it is cool and it is coming at them. This is important because this shows the contrast between the vacuum of space. 

Next have students feel the end of the vacuum cleaner while it is on. Naturally we don’t want to frighten younger ones. Be very careful to put your hand over it and let them hear the sucking sound before you invite them to do the same. The sucking sound is important. Encourage students to describe every physical sensation they observe with all of these activities. 

No I asked students are they sitting in atmosphere, where there is air, or are they sitting in a vacuum. Here comes the fun and potentially frightening part of the activity. Place your model (doll, teddy bear, whatever) into your vacuum sealed bag. Prior to this explained that the bag is going to represent the universe or outer space. Pass this around. Pass it around again with the doll, teddy bear, living representative inside the unsealed bag. What is inside the bag with our astronaut? Answer, there is also air inside the bag. 

You know what happens next, right? Now have students assist you in sucking all the air out of that bag with the vacuum cleaner. What happens!? What is no longer inside the bag with our astronaut? Can our astronaut move? Answer: no our astronaut is dead because our Astornaut does not have any air left. 

This activity will definitely help to reinforce how important the spacesuit is and that backpack that carries the oxygen and nitrogen. 

Activity 6 - The cold of space
Dry ice 
Fruits or other edibles that do well, hold up, to freezing. 

Explain to students that being in space means you are where there is no air and also where there is no heat, it is very cold in space. The astronauts suits helped to protect them from the cold of space as well as give them air to breathe.  Emphasize the danger of the cold. Have a discussion about cold. If a walk-in freezer is available, this would be fantastic! 
Next have somebody with appropriate protective gloves use dry ice to freeze room temperature fruit or other treats for the participants. Explain to the students what will be done. Pass around whatever is going to be frozen before it is frozen. Once frozen, as quickly as possible get it back into the hands of the students. There you have it, if the spacesuit is compromised in any manner, astronaut will have no air and the astronaut will freeze to death very quickly. 

Activity 7 - descriptive video of Apollo 13 with Tom Hanks. While they watch this they can be snacking on the phases of the moon, astronaut ice cream, Tang or other orange juice LOL 

Wow, I wish I could be there. I love this kind of stuff. Hopefully my rambling has not made you crazy and hopefully it has helped in at least one small tiny way. 

Also, as I mentioned at the beginning of this overly long email message, I have some ideas about how to engage the students in activities to learn about the phases of the moon. If you would like my musings on that, email me off list.

I used my voice recognition to do this because it is quite late at night and I did not want to sit at my computer. Please excuse any crazy word realignments that might have occurred that I did not catch. 

> On Aug 10, 2018, at 8:38 PM, Tina Hansen via NOBE-L <nobe-l at nfbnet.org> wrote:
> As you may know, I have a team working with me on something around Apollo 11
> for next year's BELL program. We're looking at trying to use Apollo 11 as a
> kind of theme for the program, and modifying it depending on whether we have
> a day-only program or residential.
> We somehow want to recount the story of Apollo 11 during the program if we
> take this route. If we have an older audience, we can use a documentary,
> such as Modern Marvels, or we can relate more of the facts. However, when it
> comes to a younger audience, such as ages 4-12, we're both scratching our
> heads.
> Today, we've been looking at a couple of books on the subject, and we've
> looked at the audio portion of a You Tube video. The books themselves are
> good, but if they're just listening to someone reading the book aloud,
> they're likely to fall asleep. If we were to give them Braille copies of the
> book, we'd be having to spend a lot of money. I do like the idea of having
> something, but I'm worried about the cost of hardcopy Braille. Also, the
> books don't include any actualities.
> We also saw a You Tube video, but the pace of that video even drove me
> crazy. The narrative was thrown at the audience like lightening, and it
> doesn't allow for the audience to really digest it.
> Also, it didn't include any actualities.
> My team and I are especially interested in using the famous quotes from Neil
> Armstrong, including Tranquility Base here, the eagle has landed, and the
> ever-famous "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."
> However, we're concerned about how to tell the story to an audience between
> ages 4-12. There is a lot of history, and a lot of technical material that
> could go over their heads. While I realize I can't control how the students
> might react, I want to offer them something that would, as a character says
> in the film Coco, grabs their attention and doesn't let it go.
> If we were to narrate the story live, that would mean timing it just right.
> If we were able to record the narrative in advance, we could add little
> touches, such as music, sound effects or actualities. Yet we're back to the
> issue of how much it would cost.
> Bottom line: I feel like I'm walking a tightrope. We want to ensure they're
> learning something, but since it's summer, I'm not a fan of things that look
> like they're back in school. Granted, there is the need for teaching, but
> the presentation also needs to have an element of fun. The students need to
> have their imaginations engaged and not just sit there like they're in a
> classroom.
> In short, we're stumped. Any ideas? Thanks.
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