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The Mercury 13

Create an educational poster about the historical women of the U.S. space program called The Mercury 13.

  • Grade 4
    Grade 5
    Grade 6
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Uncover the history of women in space. Share with the class the not so known story of the Mercury 13 women, thirteen American women pilots who took the astronaut fitness tests in the early 1960s. Refer to the book “Almost Astronauts 13 Women Who Dared to Dream” by Tanya Lee Stone.
    2. Ask students to think of how they would visually communicate the information learned about these women to people by creating a poster to educate friends and family.
    3. Students will present their posters to the class and explain what they chose to highlight about these women.
    4. In the poster displayed in this lesson plan, the student chose to display the names of the Mercury 13 women since they are not household names. To create this poster the directions are as follows:
    5. Cover work area with recycled newspaper. Using Crayola® Watercolor Paints on construction paper, paint the sky in space. Allow to dry.
    6. Draw a star freehand or using a template on construction paper. Cut out 13 stars with Crayola Scissors.
    7. Use Crayola Washable Markers to outline the stars and to write the names of each of the Mercury 13 female pilots in the stars.
    8. Use Crayola Gel Markers on a piece of aluminum foil to draw a space capsule like the ones used in the early space program. Carefully cut out the space capsule with Crayola Scissors.
    9. Use a Crayola Glue Stick to attach the stars and space capsule on the painted space sky.
    10. Glue the completed picture to a larger piece of construction paper and write a message with Crayola Ultra-Clean Markers.
  • Standards

    LA: Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

    LA: Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.

    LA: Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

    LA: Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

    SCI: Support an argument that the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed down.

    SCI: Support an argument that the apparent brightness of the sun and stars is due to their relative distances from Earth.

    SS: Recognize and give examples of the tensions between the wants and needs of individuals and groups, and concepts such as fairness, equity, and justice.

    SS: Compare and contrast different stories or accounts about past events, people, places, or situations, identifying how they contribute to our understanding of the past.

    VA: Make a work of art or design to communicate an idea.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

  • Adaptations

    Create a timeline of the history of women in space.

    Highlight distinctive women in space like Sally Ride, Mae Jemison, and Eileen Collins.

    Classroom Resources include: Almost Astronauts by Tanya Lee Stone and The Mercury 13: The True Story of Thirteen Women and the Dream of Space Flight by Lynn Sherr.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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