The Apollo 13 mission to the moon launched on this date, April 11th, in 1970. Here is a great article and video to watch with your children on the anniversary of this momentous day – What if NASA had Failed? http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2010/04/13/apollo_13_anniversary_what_if/
The Apollo 13 movie is a great way to study all about this disastrous mission. The movie follows Astronaut Jim Lovell, who wants nothing more from his career than the privilege of walking on the moon. He’s elated when a medical condition bumps his crew from backup status to lead crew for Apollo 13. In spite of his wife’s premonition, Jim enthusiastically plunges into the training and preparation for the trip. Even the removal of his good friend Ken Mattingly from the crew can scarcely dampen his enthusiasm. What started out as the dream of a lifetime becomes a nightmare when a mid-space explosion jeopardizes not only the lunar landing but also the safe return of the crew. Like he did on Apollo 8, Jim can only stare longingly at the moon’s surface as the damaged spacecraft circles the lunar orb before heading back to earth. As the nation waits and prays, the members of Mission Control solve problems “on the fly” and develop the procedures that will bring the craft and crew home safely. Director Ron Howard’s suspense thriller is a fitting tribute to this modern-day miracle.
Zeezok Publishing’s Z-Guide is a great companion to the Apollo 13 movie. This Z-Guide contains a topic overview, movie synopsis, and ten learning activities for an in-depth study of the film and the turbulent decade of the 1960’s. Learn more about the space race between the Soviet Union and the United States. Memorize a portion of the “Kranz Dictum” that altered NASA’s mission statement following the Apollo 1 disaster. Discuss the difficulties of leadership, analyze the role of the news media, or ponder the place of technology in our society. Evaluate your own beliefs with the worldview activity, probe the director’s mind with “The Filmmaker’s Art” activity, and get the entire family involved with the “For Family Discussion” section at the end of the guide. Choose those activities which best fit your student’s course objectives, areas of interest, or time schedule.