John H. Glenn, Jr. – Aviation Education Pioneer Lesson Plan

December 16, 2007 by Carl Chance

Objectives

Students should be able to:

  • Describe circumstances surrounding the history discussed.
  • Describe progress made in the field since the subject’s history took place.
  • Compare and or contrast life before and after the history described.
  • Identify main themes emerging from the web resources and reflect on their manifestation in every day life.

Grades: 6-8, 9-12

Subjects: Language Arts, History, Science, & Social Studies.
Curriculum standards: Curriculum standards at the state and district level in several states require students to acquire different levels of competency in a variety of skills such as:

  • Chronology of major events in the history of the United States.
  • Understanding narratives about major eras of American and world history by identifying the people involved, describing the setting, and sequencing the events. ( major world wars, the Great Depression, establishment of the National Aeronautics and Space Agency [NASA], broadcasts of the first landing on the moon and other space launches, important presidential speeches, and other major world events)
  • Reconstructing the past by comparing interpretations written by others from a variety of perspectives.
  • Creating narratives from evidence.
  • Evaluating key decisions made at critical turning points in history by assessing their implications and long-term consequences.

These standards involve students in critical thinking and analyzing events. The resources used here provide credible sources from which to do comparison and contrasting activities with materials presented in other formats such as print. By being asked to reconstruct the past with a critical attitude,

  • students are able to develop their own cognitive strategies
  • encourages a spirit of inquisitiveness and scientific research strategies that can be augmented by other non-listening activities such as reading, writing
  • promotes factual and higher-order thinking, deep knowledge, substantive knowledge, and connections beyond the classroom

Materials are usable and applicable in a number of subject contexts such as social studies (history, civics, geography, democracy), science, and language arts standards make it possible for students to learn academic content.
Additional academic content standards may be obtained through  (http://www.mcrel.org/standards-benchmarks/), a site that provides K-12 academic standards; and Achieve (http://www.achieve.org/), a site that addresses the academic standards of over 40 states. The state standards are from Achieve’s National Standards Clearinghouse (http://www.aligntoachieve.org/AchievePhaseII/basic-search.cfm) and have been provided courtesy of Achieve, Inc. in Cambridge Massachusetts and Washington, DC.

Resources:

Activity 1

  • Tell students that the unit will cover two or more lessons and they will be engaged in finding out more information and doing library research on John Glenn, Jr.; as well as themes that emerge from his ‘stories’.
  • Explain to them that the principal idea in the lesson is to expose them to the lives of this prominent American aviation icon that had an impact in the history of this nation, in the early to mid 21st century.

Activity 2

  • Guide the students in supplying definitions and synonyms for the word Pioneer.
    (To understand the term better, you may choose to incorporate antonyms).
  • Ask them to briefly describe situations they think best fit the description of Pioneer. Encourage them to draw from their own experiences or experiences of those close to them.

Activity 3

  • Inform the students that the web resources they will research are authentic. They should pay attention to details such as names of places, descriptions of events, dates etc. and be ready to share with their colleagues (in groups) what they shall have learned.

Activity 4

  • In groups of three or four, instruct students to discuss the information presented in the web site resources. To guide them, present them with questions such as:
  • Where (geographically) do the events take place?
  • Why might John Glenn, Jr. be considered an “ Aviation Pioneer”?
  • What are some beliefs and values that he might have had?
  • What may life have been like for this aviation pioneer during his career?
  • What was life like in his pilot/astronaut time period?
  • What are some themes that emerge from his life story?
  • How much have things changed (or remained the same) since the time John Glenn, Jr. got into the aviation industry.
  • Have a whole class discussion on the information they could have gathered in their groups.
  • Ask them to write a brief account when they feel they have demonstrated the virtue of being a Pioneer.

Activity 5

  • Tell the students that they would be required to do some library/internet research on any of the following:
    • The History of Aviation.
    • Place of pioneers in Science and Technology.


(You may choose to have the work done in groups or individually).

  • Ask students to identify working conditions in this early time period of aviation development.
  • In groups, have the students generate lists to compare and contrast life as
    • How John Glenn, Jr. may have experienced life and how he would experience being an astronaut now.
    • How John Glenn, Jr. may have influenced students in aviation and aerospace for the future.

Other Suggested Activities.

  • Have the students explore the geographical regions mentioned in the ‘web resources’ i.e. Cambridge, Ohio, New Concord, Ohio, Patuxent River, Maryland, Cape Canaveral (Florida), and Washington D.C.
  • Reflecting on John Glenn, Jr., discuss the statement “ It has been just amazing how quickly we have adapted, and how fast we’ve gone forward. And maybe we will see even more and greater jumps in flight in the next century than we saw in the last”. Guide the students in reflecting on some choices they have had to make (or will be required to make) in their lives.
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