The Space Race

The Space Race

Essential Question: Was the Space Race About Space?

Common Core Standards: RH1, RH6, WHST1


Several sites will help teachers refresh memories about the space race:


Students will debate the nature of the Space Race in four teams, using evidence to support their position on two questions:

Was the Space Race good or bad for the United States?

Was the Space Race really about science or the Cold War?


Play this sound for students:

(It is a recording of Sputnik’s radio transmission.) Ask them to guess what it is.

Lay the groundwork for the lesson by painting a picture of 1950s Cold War America, including the concern about nuclear war.

Then show this clip from TED (3:47) that has David Hoffman introducing some of the key responses to Sputnik.