Open to: Grades 4–6
Eligibility: CTY-level or Advanced CTY-level verbal or math score required
Prerequisites: While students are not required to be verbal qualifiers, they must be proficient readers and writers of English to gain value from the course.
Formats: Session Based. See calendar for session dates and application deadlines.
Course Length: 10 weeks (Early Fall, Late Fall, Winter, Spring) or 12 weeks (Early Summer, Mid-Summer)
Grading: This course is typically ungraded.
Course Code: YRSR
While there was widespread publicity concerning the recent 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, the story behind the other Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions seems mostly overlooked. However, the original "space race" to the Moon has acquired increasing relevance now that the U.S. has announced the new Artemis mission to establish a permanent lunar presence and China has scheduled its own moon landing for 2030. What factors motivated President John F. Kennedy in 1961 to commit the U.S. to landing on the moon? How likely did success seem at the time his pledge was made? What technical and political obstacles had to be overcome? What contributions were made by women and minorities that enabled space travel for the chosen few white male astronauts selected for the early missions? How many lives were lost, and domestic priorities overlooked, because of the tax dollars allocated for this venture? What important scientific discoveries can be attributed to the space program? What led to NASA’s gamble to move up the Apollo 8 mission so that Americans would be the first humans to see the other side of the moon? After the Apollo 13 crew reported, “Houston, we’ve had a problem,” how did NASA’s engineers provide the solution that brought the three astronauts home safely? And finally, was the race to the Moon a worthwhile expenditure of American tax dollars if Americans haven't bothered to return since 1972?
Students enrolled in this course will learn the rest of the story that often gets overlooked by the focus on the Apollo 11 moon landing. In American Moonshot (Young Readers’ Edition), historian Douglas Brinkley offers the riveting backstory of the 1969 moon landing. In Hidden Figures (Young Readers’ Edition), author Margot Lee Shetterly shares the story of four African American women who helped launch the U.S. into space amid the modern Civil Rights movement. Jeffrey Kluger and Ruby Shamir’s To the Moon: The True Story of the American Apollo 8 Spaceship provides young readers with the compelling account of NASA’s bold and risky decision to recover from the deadly Apollo I spacecraft fire by moving up and changing Apollo 8’s assignment. In Lost in Outer Space: the Incredible Journey of Apollo 13, author Tod Olson details how a crippled spaceship 200,000 miles away from Earth was sent around the moon and then brought back safely.
This course does not have any synchronous class meetings, but students may schedule one-on-one virtual meetings directly with the instructor to answer questions or concerns.
Videos from YouTube or other web providers may be present in the course. Video recommendations or links provided at end of videos are generated by the video host provider and are not CTY recommendations.
Note: You are provided with a list of vocabulary words from each book that you can use to help better understand the book and increase your knowledge of vocabulary words in general.
This course requires approximately 3 hours for each of the 10 units. Students should expect to spend approximately 3 hours per week during the course. Students who are two or more units behind in their work will not receive course completion documents.
Note: This course is not live. Students do not have to meet in the classroom at the same time. A student's written work can be posted in the virtual classroom at the student's convenience as long as deadlines are met.
This course requires a properly maintained computer with high-speed internet access and an up-to-date web browser (such as Chrome or Firefox). The student must be able to communicate with the instructor via email. Visit the Technical Requirements and Support page for more details.