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Classroom Activities for Barbara Morgan: No Limits

         Perseverance | Teamwork | Positive Risk Taking | Exploration

         Additional Materials

Theme of Perseverance

A view of the shuttle approaching the International Space StationObjectives

  • Students will be able to describe personal characteristics that define perseverance.
  • Students will be able to describe characteristics of Barbara Morgan’s perseverance.
  • Students will be able to identify examples of people who exhibited perseverance in their lives.
  • Students will be able to describe how they might persevere with their own goals.

Before Viewing Activities

  • Ask students what they think the word perseverance means.
  • List students' ideas on whiteboard.
  • Provide students with formal definition of "perseverance."
  • Have students give personal examples of people they know or have read about who have perseverance.
  • Lead the class on a discussion of the character attributes necessary to be persistent.
  • Fill in student responses on the first two columns of the KWL chart (PDF).

Viewing Activities

Watch the first 23 minutes of the Barbara Morgan documentary, until the craft launches.
  • During viewing, have students write down examples of how Barbara Morgan demonstrates perseverance.

The crew walks out of the building on their way to board the shuttle.After Viewing

  • Discuss what perseverance means.
  • Did students’ views change after watching the documentary?
  • Discuss some of the challenges that can create the need for perseverance.
  • Have students identify a personal goal (i.e., getting a part in a school play, being picked for a team, learning a foreign language, learning to play an instrument.)
  • Have students describe two challenges that might require them to persevere in meeting their goal (i.e., lack of training, financial resources, lack of interest from family.)
  • Have students identify how they would persevere through these challenges.
  • Complete KWL chart (PDF).
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Theme of Goal-Setting

Watch Barbara Morgan’s original NASA interview

Watch Christa McAuliffe’s original NASA interview

  • Pick one of the three questions Mrs. Morgan and Mrs. McCauliffe was asked and have students compare and contrast the two women’s answers to the same question.
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Theme of Teamwork

STS-118 mission patchResearch the symbols in the STS-118 mission patch

  • Divide the class into teams and have each team design a patch for that represents the entire class, with at least three symbols in it.
  • Or have each team design their own patch with at least three symbols on it.

Watch the students at the Idaho Discovery Center ask questions of Barbara Morgan and her crew members

  • Have your students write down a question they would have asked Mrs. Morgan.
  • Have them research the answer to that question.
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Theme of Positive Risk-Taking

The shuttle launches, surrounded by a huge cloud of smoke.The teenage years are about testing limits and boundaries, it is a natural part of growing up and becoming independent adults. Research studies indicate that teens who are successful in taking positive risks have higher self-esteem and are less likely to experiment with taking unhealthy risks. Promoting positive risk taking can take many forms – trying out for sports, going to camp, making new friends, running for school office, etc.

Questions before viewing

  1. Have students define risk? (an uncertainty of outcome)
  2. What kind of risks do we take in our lives? List student responses on chart paper or white board.
  3. What is the difference between appropriate and inappropriate risks?

Questions after viewing

  1. It is risky to become an astronaut and go into orbit. What steps did Barbara Morgan take to prepare for those risks?
  2. What quotes from the program illustrate Mrs. Morgan’s emphasis on positive risk taking?
    • "If we don’t take any risks at all, we aren’t going anywhere." — Barbara Morgan (:44)
    • "If what you are going for is valuable, and you are taking all the precautions you can, then you do it." — Clay Morgan (12:59)
    • "Most things that are worth doing, take a lot of time and effort." — Barbara Morgan (45:12)
  3. Discuss with a teammate an activity that has a positive risk associated with it that you would like to try, and list the steps necessary to prepare for the risk. Discuss the potential rewards of your risk. Be prepared to share with the class.

Additional websites on positive risk-taking

Casey Journalism Center for Children and Families information on adolescent risk-taking
A Who, Why and What of Parenting A Parent's Guide to the Teen Brain

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Theme of Exploration

A view of the shuttle launch from across the riverHave your students research the naming of the Shuttle Endeavour

  • Divide students into teams and ask each team to come up with a name for a new spacecraft, based on the theme of exploration.
  • The importance of space exploration — "bag of potential"
    This Lesson plan explores the importance of space exploration and extends the idea to that of exploration in general. Directed at 4th-5th grades, this lesson is still suitable for junior high grade levels.

Additional educational material for students about NASA and space exploration

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