Shuttle shutdown Focus Questions



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Shuttle shutdown
Focus Questions


Episode 19

26th july 2011



Learning Area

Science, Society and Environment



Key learning

Students will develop a deeper understanding of the space shuttle program and space exploration.





  1. How long has the space shuttle program been going?

  2. In which year did man first land on the moon?

  3. The spacecraft they used to get to the moon was reusable. True or false?

  4. Describe the three main parts that make up the space shuttle.

  5. How does the shuttle land?

  6. Describe some of the work the space shuttles have helped with.

  7. Why have most astronauts agreed it was a good idea to stop using the space shuttles?

  8. What does the end of the shuttle program mean for space exploration?

  9. What is NASA going to focus on now?

  10. How has space exploration affected people’s lives?

Shuttle goodbye

Students think about and record in a word or phrase, what they know about the space exploration. Place their responses on a concept map with space exploration at the centre.

Students will learn more about the space shuttle program and space exploration through the following activities. They can add to the concept map as they complete each activity. Negotiate with student s how many activities they will need to complete.
Remember and understand


  • Write a true or false quiz about the space shuttle program using facts from the BtN story.

  • Create a timeline showing significant events in space exploration (including the space shuttle program). Encourage students to display their timelines around the classroom.

  • Make a facts sheet that includes interesting information about the space shuttles and their missions.

Apply and Analyse

  • Investigate the following questions about space exploration:
    Why explore space?
    What are the benefits of space exploration?
    Why has the space shuttle program come to an end?
    What is the future of space exploration?
    Present your research findings in an interesting way.


  • Research an event in space shuttle history and create a display with words and pictures.

  • What has Australia’s involvement in space exploration been? ABC Science has images and information to support research http://www.abc.net.au/science/moon/slideshow/ .
    Should Australia be more involved in space exploration? Provide reasons for your position.

Evaluate and create

  • Students research the construction of the space shuttle and make a diagram or model of it including the major components:
    Orbiter – carries crew
    Cargo bay – part of the orbiter, carries payload
    External fuel tank
    Two solid rocket boosters
    Each diagram or model needs to be labelled and have a description of each component.

  • How has space exploration changed since the 1960s? Create illustrations to show the changes.

  • What is NASA? Investigate what NASA’s mission is and five important facts about the organisation. Investigate `what’s next for NASA’ after the end of the space shuttle program.

8 Related Research Links



ABC News – Atlantis blasts off on final space mission

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-07-09/atlantis-blasts-off-on-final-space-mission/2787988
ABC News – End of an era for NASA

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2010-02-03/end-of-an-era-for-nasa/319254
ABC News –Gallery: A look back at the space shuttle

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-07-07/a-look-back-at-the-space-shuttle/2785776
NASA – Latest space shuttle news

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/main/index.html
NASA – Space shuttle frequently asked questions

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/about/information/shuttle_faq.html
Children’s BBC – Snaps from the Atlantis shuttle’s last mission

http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/14183490


© ABC 2011


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