Space Contributions: Internet Workshop

With permission, I was able to create an internet workshop connected to a topic of my choice that connects to a unit of study in my classroom. With 6th grade, the past two years I’ve done a unit on biographies and autobiographies. I wanted to explore another area to connect across the curriculum and I happened upon the book Look to the Stars by Buzz Aldrin on This connects the 6th grade science essential standards dealing with contributions to space exploration and I saw the perfect opportunity to connect biographies! Frye, Trathen, and Koppenhaver (2010) weren’t kidding when they stated that:

…locating child-friendly Web sites that students can easily read, navigate, and comprehend, and that provide accurate information can be more time-consuming than teachers sometimes anticipate. (p. 47)

Although it was time consuming, it will definitely be worth using in the future with my students. I didn’t create a bookmarking website, but I will create a blog to use with the class that will have these sites listed (just as it is below). I would hopefully be able to publish the finished product of arguments on which is the biggest contribution to space exploration and the written biographies. By publishing the hard work of students, teachers “increase the authenticity of student learning” and also help students realize that their work is being exposed to a “wider audience response beyond the local classroom community” (Frye, Trathen, & Koppenhaver, 2010, p. 50).


Frye, E. M., Trathen, W., & Koppenhaver, D. A. (2010). Internet workshop and blog publishing: Meeting student (and teacher) learning needs to achieve best practice in the twenty-first-century social studies classroom. The Social Studies, 101(2), 46-53.

Prior to this workshop, I would familiarize my students with navigating a websites and their content. With this workshop, I would explore a few of the websites in the classroom using an active board to assure the students understood how to navigate before allowing them time alone with their partner in the computer lab. This internet workshop would also take place over several days to allow students time to explore, write, edit, and share.

Internet Workshop: Space Contributions

Essential Standards:


6.E.1 Understand the earth/moon/sun system, and the properties, structures and predictable motions of celestial bodies in the Universe.

Objective:  6.E.1.3 Summarize space exploration and the understandings gained from them.

ELA Common Core:

RL 6.9. Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres (e.g., stories and poems; historical novels and fantasy stories) in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics.

RI 6.1. Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

RI 6.2. Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.

RI 6.7. Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.

RI 6.8. Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not.

W 6.1. Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
a. Introduce claim(s) and organize the reasons and evidence clearly.
b. Support claim(s) with clear reasons and relevant evidence, using credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.
c. Use words, phrases, and clauses to clarify the relationships among claim(s) and reasons.
d. Establish and maintain a formal style.
e. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from the argument presented.

As a class we will read: Look to the Stars by Buzz Aldrin

Before exploring sites, think about the book and write down your answers in your english journal.

What are some contributes that have been made to space exploration?

Why do you think these are important?

Students, explore these sites below taking notes as you read.

Space Shuttles:

Video on Space Shuttle History:


You will explore these sites and answer the following questions in complete sentences in your english journals:

  • Why is a space shuttle different from an airplane?
  • What are the main parts of a space shuttle?
  • What do space shuttles do?
  • What are three famous space shuttles in U.S. History?
  • What is the most important part of a space shuttle?
  • What are the main types of telescopes?
  • How do they work?
  • What do telescopes do? (What are they used for?)
  • What is the most important part of a telescope? 

Now that you have explored the sites, in your words:

With a partner create a paper using the above resources and information:

  • Which is the biggest contribution to space exploration: space shuttles or telescopes?

Provide clear details and support your opinions using the information provided from the websites. Be ready to justify your response through a class debate.

Space Explorations and Contributions Figures/Astronaut Biographies:

Choose an astronaut and create a biographical writing. It can be written from their point of view (similar to Look to the Stars by Buzz Aldrin), as a story, a journal entry, an interview or a poem. Be creative! Include their contribution(s) in your writing. Explore the sites listed below and also refer back to Look to the Stars by Buzz Aldrin for people who contributed to space exploration. (Think about our discussion in class.) Think about:

Who you would like to write about/from their point of view? What was their contribution to space? What did they do? Why were they important?

Explore these sites that contain Biographies:

These biographies will be shared with the class and on our class blog.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ginger Landers
    Jun 18, 2012 @ 23:43:21

    Wow, your internet workshop is very thorough and a very creative way to teach your students about space. How did they like it; other than it was very time-consuming? I could see how it wold be easy to want to really explore a couple of the websites and that could take a good deal of time. I also like your creative biographical writing assignment that you incorporated – it seems like a great way for your students to think from an astronaut’s perspective.


    • lenasprinkle
      Jun 19, 2012 @ 00:10:47

      Thanks! I haven’t had a chance to conduct this internet workshop in the classroom. I’m planning on doing it next school year. Hopefully they’ll enjoy it!


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