Education:The Space Race and Satellite Technology


9-12 World History/US History

Time Required for Completed Lesson

1 class period


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Common Core State Standards

Grades 9-10 Key Ideas and Details RH.9-10.2. Determine a central idea or information of a primary source or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.

RH.9-10.3. Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas RH.9-10.9. Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in several primary and secondary sources.


Whiteboard, projector, PowerPoint, copies of readings, videos

Anticipatory Set

1) Discussion of the Cold War in the context of the space race and satellite technology.

2) Short teacher-generated PowerPoint on the evolution of telecommunications, from early forms like smoke signals to the internet and satellite technology.


1) Students will read about the space race from

2) Students will fill in a timeline marking the evolution of telecommunications.

3) Students will read select portions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

4) Teacher will lead a class discussion on the consequences of the Telecommunications of 1996.

5) Teacher will lead a class discussion on the possible democratizing impact of satellite radio on the communications industry.


1) gMain ideas and supporting details of reading will be highlighted

2) Varied methods of lesson plan to accommodate different learning abilities.

3) Small group interaction


Students will break into groups in order to debate the impact of satellite radio on citizen communication and news dissemination.

Open-ended question: What role does satellite radio have in the following areas: communication, news, terrestrial radio, citizenship?


1) Literacy skills will be applied throughout the lesson.

2) Computer skills will be applied.

3) Artistic and graphic aspects of the lesson will be applied

4) Oral and debate skills will be emphasized.


1) Students will create a Venn diagram comparing the terrestrial radio with satellite radio.

2) Teacher will point out that the two original satellite radio companies, Sirius and XM, have merged. We will have a short class discussion on how this alters what they have learned.


Submitted by: Neal Ziskind