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Launch of Sputnik

Page history last edited by Jill Day 9 years, 1 month ago

Launch of Sputnik

Summary Statement

Jill Day



Historical Context of Work

          The first satellite was launched into space on October 4, 1957 by the U.S.S.R. This satellite was named Sputnik, was the size of a basketball and weighed 184 pounds.  It took Sputnik 98 minutes to orbit the earth. Sputnik was a technical achievement that caught the world’s attention. It started a revolution in areas of political, military, technology and other scientific developments (NASA). Right after the launch of Sputnik the U.S Defense Department responded by approving a US satellite project that was later known as Vanguard.

Impact on Best Practices

           Prior to the launch of Sputnik, reading was the focus in schools. The math and science revolution promoted more hands on and real life applications in teaching.  “Best practices” require that the curriculum be aligned with core learning expectations that will improve the performance of all students. In order to accomplish this teachers must use a variety of teaching methods such as performance asks and inquiry based learning to ensure student achievement.  The development of rockets and satellites proved that hands on and project based learning was needed in society.  These techniques improved student achievement by allowing all types of learners to excel.

            “Best Practices” also include closely monitoring and assessing the progressing of education throughout the year and showing accountability for the results. Providing hands on learning and exploration provided a new way for teachers to assess and monitor education.  Many great scientists had learning disabilities.  Their discoveries were not always research based due to reading and attention disorders.  They were allowed to do experiments as assessments that eventually lead to many of our technology reforms. The launch of Sputnik provided a path for new scientific experiments to be developed.  

Problems or Failures

             Prior to the launch of Sputnik there were many failures.  Very little information is given about how many tries it took to launch a satellite into orbit. Currently there are more that 2,000 satellites in space.  This technology allows us to have a plethora of resources at our fingertips.  Trial and error allowed for this successful moment in history.  This type of critical thinking also provided a path to ensure better education for all.  Students are now motivated to solve problems on their own by exploring different solutions instead of relying on provided resources.


Other Interesting Facts

          October Sky or Rocket Boys is a book that is frequently used in middle school to promote scientific exploration.  The book is based on a true story and begins with the launch of Sputnik.  A group of students were inspired by Sputnik and begin their own rocket experiments.  Through a series of hardships, the boys were able to create a successful rocket that made history.  One of the members Homer Hickam, became a NASA astronaut. Hickam’s inspiration came from Sputnik and therefore resulted in his success story.  His story is being passed on in order to inspire young learners (Hickam, 1998).


Impact on Others

          The United States was awaken to the fact that other countries had begun to explore space travel and they were being left behind.  The Cold War was currently taking place that consisted of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars and economic competition primarily between the Communist and the United States. There was not a military battle, however controversy surrounded most all political subjects. This brought up a scare that countries like the U.S.S.R would be able to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles or intercontinental nuclear weapons if battle did proceed(needham).  


Franco, L. , Gordon, C. (Producer) & Johnston, J. (Director). (1999). October Sky

     [Motion picture]. United States: Universal Pictures.

Hickam, Homer. (1998). Rocket Boys.  New York, NY: Delacorte Press.

Williamson, M. (2011).  Paving the way to space. Engineering &

     Technology.  31-33. Retrieved May 24, 2011,from  http://content.ebscohost.com.wf2dnvr9.webfeat.org/pdf25_26/pdf/2011/








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