Astronauts teach "lost lessons" to honor Challenger Shuttle astronaut, Christa McAuliffe NASA Teacher-in-Space trainee Sharon Christa McAuliffe (right) and backup Barbara R. Morgan practice experiments during a zero-gravity training flight on October 16, 1985. (NASA)
Astronauts teach "lost lessons" to honor Challenger Shuttle astronaut, Christa McAuliffe
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Christa McAuliffe was NASA’s first designated teacher in space. She had prepared lessons to record during her time aboard the space shuttle Challenger. But she never had the chance to carry out her plan. On January 28, 1986, just 73 seconds into its flight, the ship exploded. It killed McAuliffe and six other crew members on board.

Now two teachers-turned-astronauts, Joe Acaba and Ricky Arnold, will pay tribute to McAuliffe and her work. They plan to record these “lost lessons” while on the International Space Station. They plan to do this over the next several months according to Marcia Dunn, reporting for Associated Press.

McAuliffe taught history, law, and economics. She taught at Concord High School in New Hampshire prior to joining NASA as part of President Reagan’s Teacher in Space program. That's according to Marina Koren reporting for The Atlantic. “I will be filming lessons and trying to stay out of the way.” That's what McAuliffe said in a biography by Grace George Corrigan, Koren writes. “In fact, learning to avoid being a nuisance represents the biggest part of my training. I can look — but not touch!”

She prepared a mix of live performances and prerecorded lessons. They were intended to be released during the Challenger mission. After the explosion, her “lost lessons” fell by the wayside during investigations and other research. The recorded lessons and practice sessions were eventually released along with descriptions by a NASA educational specialist. All are now hosted by the Challenger Center.

The astronauts announced their plans during a TV linkup with students at McAullife’s alma mater, Framingham State University, Dunn writes. After recording the lessons, they will be hosted online for the public by the Challenger Center, Marquita Harris reports for Refinery29.

Four of McAuliffe’s six lessons will be filmed, with modifications to take advantage of equipment available on the space station. The lessons will cover effervescence (bubbles), chromatography (a chemical separation technique) and liquids. They will also cover Newton’s laws of motion.

Acaba is currently on the space station, but will return to earth at the end of February. Arnold will be part of the replacement crew launching in March. Both have a background in education, teaching middle and high school math and science prior to their selection as educator-astronauts in 2004. Acaba taught in Florida, Koren writes. Arnold taught in Maryland, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and Romania. NASA is calling the back-to-back mission by educator-astronauts a “Year of Education on Station.” The lost lessons will join short “STEMonstration” videos the duo are recording that feature various scientific concepts.

Acaba is also completing an indirect tribute to McAuliffe by journaling his time in space. McAuliffe planned to keep a journal during her space shuttle mission, Dunn writes. When asked by a student if they would do the same, Acaba revealed he’s been journaling throughout his 14-year astronaut career. “When I’m sitting on my porch sometime in the future, I’ll look back on all these great times,” Acaba told the students.

McAuliffe’s backup for the Challenger mission, Idaho elementary school teacher Barbara Morgan, became the first teacher in space twelve years later during construction of the space station. Morgan is currently on the board of the Challenger Center honoring the McAuliffe and the rest of the crew.

If all goes smoothly, the lost lessons will be available online this spring.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
How will teaching the lessons be a tribute to Christa McAuliffe?
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COMMENTS (50)
  • IsabellaM-del
    2/05/2018 - 04:45 p.m.

    This article is about a woman named Christa McAuliffe who started teaching lessons for astronauts and is great at it so that is why she is remembered for it.

  • EvanC-del
    2/05/2018 - 05:18 p.m.

    Teaching lessons will be a tribute to Christa McAuliffe because they are teaching lessons to people that McAuliffe couldn't.

  • JadeR-del
    2/05/2018 - 05:19 p.m.

    A summary of the article is that there are "lost lessons" in astronaut training and to honor Challenger Shuttle astronaut, Christa McAuliffe they will do just that. These lessons will be a tribute to Christa McAuliffe because it is passing her lesson down.

  • ChloeR-del1
    2/05/2018 - 05:23 p.m.

    Teaching the "lost lessons" will be a tribute to Christa McAuliffe. Learning them will be special because it shows that her teaching would pass down like laws and economics to school in space.

  • GemmaV-del
    2/05/2018 - 05:44 p.m.

    McAuliffe’s backup for the Challenger mission, Idaho elementary school teacher Barbara Morgan, became the first teacher in space twelve years later during construction of the space station. Morgan is currently on the board of the Challenger Center honoring the McAuliffe and the rest of the crew.

  • NatalieH-del
    2/05/2018 - 05:45 p.m.

    Teaching the lessons will be a tribute to Christa McAuliffe. Since she died before she could teach them, Joe and Ricky have decided to teach them for her in her honor. Although she wasn't able to teach them herself, others will teach them for her.

  • PoojaT-del
    2/05/2018 - 05:47 p.m.

    This article is about Christa McAuliffe was NASA’s first designated teacher in space. She had prepared lessons to record during her time aboard the space shuttle Challenger. But she never had the chance to carry out her plan. On January 28, 1986, just 73 seconds into its flight, the ship exploded. It killed McAuliffe and six other crew members on board. This was a very interesting article to read.

  • PriscillaD-del
    2/05/2018 - 06:07 p.m.

    This article is about the "lost lessons" astronauts teach to pay tribute to Christa McAuliffe, the first astronaut to teach in space. McAuliffe didn't have the opportunity to teach because she died in a flight. To honor her, two astronauts recorded these “lost lessons” while on the International Space Station. Barbara Morgan, became the first teacher in space twelve years later during construction of the space station. Everyone at the space station and the company will always honor Christa McAuliffe.

  • HannahR -del
    2/05/2018 - 06:32 p.m.

    Teaching the lessons will be a tribute to Christa McAuliffe. The lessons are very important and and an impact to kids if they want to learn about space.

  • AnnabelleA-del
    2/05/2018 - 06:44 p.m.

    This article was about an astronaut with unfinished work. The astronaut's name was Christina McAuliffe. This astronaut's ship exploded, killing her, along with 6 others. McAuliffe's lessons are being taught as a tribute to her.

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