Resources to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landings

Stephanie Burke
05th July 2019
Apollo moon landings anniversary

On 20 July 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first people to step foot on the surface of the moon, after a four-day journey in the spacecraft Apollo 11. The 50th anniversary of this incredible milestone in human achievement has generated films, documentaries, events and exhibits around the world; as the end of the school year approaches, what better time to tap into this fascination with space travel and go on your own journey of discovery with your students? To help you, we have picked a selection of engaging resources from the experts at NASA, Airbus Space Discovery, the Royal Institute and the Wellcome Trust, among others.  

Resources from NASA

Where better to start exploring space in the classroom than with resources from NASA? Have a look at the resources we have gathered here on the moon landings and the possibilities for living and working on the moon in the future; find more NASA resources here.

Exploring the Moon Educator Guide

The activities in this guide promote problem solving, communication skills and teamwork. Earth and space science subjects include lunar geology and regolith, distance to the moon, Apollo landing sites and life support systems.
By NASAeducation

Designing a Mission to Live and Work on the Moon

The Lunar Nautics Teacher Guide has 40 activities. Students assume roles of workers at Lunar Nautics Space Systems, Inc., a fictional aerospace company specializing in mission management, lunar habitat and exploration design, and scientific research. This guide features lessons that address the basics of Newton's Laws of Motion, rocket design, microgravity, and the moon. Students will design, test and analyze a model lunar lander, a robot, and a soda bottle rocket. Other activities include building edible models of spacecraft and a solar oven to cook hot dogs.
By NASAeducation

Nearside of the Moon - Apollo Landing Sites

The landing sites of Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17 are marked on this photo of the moon.
By NASAeducation

Field Trip to the Moon: LRO/LCROSS Edition

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite missions will prepare for humans&' return to the moon. The Field Trip to the Moon: LRO/LCROSS Edition includes the activities from the original Field Trip to the Moon guide plus activities relating to these two moon missions. The LRO/LCROSS activities allow participants to explore lunar stratigraphy (caused by lava flows), impact craters, the moon&';s history, spacecraft design in which students build models of the LRO out of edible or non-edible materials, and the future of lunar exploration.
By NASAeducation

Waste Limitation Management and Recycling Design

The Waste Limitation Management and Recycling Design Challenge Educator Guide is a starting point for middle school students to research and answer the challenging questions of how to maintain human habitations on the moon and other planets in the solar system. The guide focuses specifically on the need for water recycling. The guide includes background information on topics relating to the moon, Earth’s water cycle and water recycling. Several basic classroom activities on water recycling are also included.
By NASAeducation


Design and build a shock-absorbing system that will protect two 'astronauts' when they land. In this challenge, students follow the engineering design process to do the following: 1. Design and build a shock-absorbing system out of paper, straws and mini-marshmallows. 2. Attach their shock absorber to a cardboard platform. 3. Use test results to improve their design.
By NASAeducation

Airbus Foundation Discovery Space

If you're looking for a space-related project that will challenge your students and develop their maths skills, have a look at these resources that help students to explore some of the maths involved in rocket engineering, with plenty of hands-on experimentation! Explore more Airbus resources.

Airbus Discovery Space Activity 1: Rocket Designs

This activity has been designed to span several lessons and provides an introduction to rocket design that will be important in later activities. It incorporates many different maths skills (see below). The activities have been designed to be completed by students individually, or in pairs. The activity can be easily adapted for the needs of your particular class by removing any content deemed unsuitable. No special material are needed, although for the More Rockets task, students will need access to the internet.

This project can incorporate the following areas of maths, with the option to remove components if they are not suitable for your class:
● Place value
● Metric conversions
● Averages and range
● Estimation
● Representing data
● Standard form

By AirbusDiscoverySpace

Airbus Discovery Space Activity 2: Build a Rocket!

This activity has been designed to span several lessons, and is where students put what they have learned in Activity 1 into practice by actually designing and building their own water rockets.

It incorporates many different maths skills (see below), as well as non-maths specific skills like teamwork and communication.
It is a group work task which works best with groups of 2 or 3 people.

It can be easily adapted for the needs of your particular class. For example, on the Measurement sheet, any concepts that the students have not yet encountered (such as volume of a cone) can be deleted. Likewise, the scale drawing can be simplified by not asking for the plan and elevation, and by giving students squared paper.

This project can incorporate the following areas of maths, with the option to remove components if they are not suitable for your class:
● Money calculations
● Estimation
● Measuring lengths and weights
● Calculating area
● Calculating volume
● Density
● Scale drawing
● Drawing plans and elevations

By AirbusDiscoverySpace

Airbus Discovery Space Activity 3: Test your rocket

In this activity students test the rockets that they have designed and constructed in Activity 2. Data is recorded which will be used in this activity to make comparisons with the rest of the class, and in the next activity to determine the perfect rocket.
For each rocket flight, two variables can be measured: height and time in the air. Ideally you will measure both, but whilst time in the air merely requires a stopwatch, height requires the availability of an altitude measuring device. The maths behind this are covered in the first student activity. This can be omitted if you think it is too complex for your students, and instead you can complete the rest of the activities by just measuring time in the air. However, it may still be worth showing students the video in the first student activity to address the difficulties of measuring height.

This project can incorporate the following areas of maths, with the option to remove components if they are not suitable for your class:
● Right-angled Trigonometry
● Measuring time
● Recording data
● Constructing and interpreting Bar charts
● Constructing and interpreting Pie charts
● Constructing and interpreting Stem and leaf diagram
● Constructing and interpreting Cumulative frequency diagrams
● Constructing and interpreting Box and whisker plots
● Constructing and interpreting Histograms
● Constructing and interpreting Scatter diagrams and correlation
● Calculating and interpreting the mean, median and range
● Working out best value
● Comparing sets of data using statistical justifications

By AirbusDiscoverySpace

Airbus Discovery Space Activity 4: The Perfect Rocket

In this activity, students will make use of the data they collected in Activity 3, both in
terms of data on their own rocket flight, and data from the rest of the class. Students will
be able to use scatter diagrams to identify any relationships between weight, length and
cost of a rocket, the time the rocket was in the air, and the maximum height it reached.
They will then have the opportunity to build models out of this data that may allow them
to predict the length, weight and cost for the perfect rocket. This part of the activity
works best if you can get access to a computer room and make use of Desmos, but it
can be completed just using pencil and paper. As ever, components of this activity can
be added and removed as you see fit.

This project can incorporate the following areas of maths, with the option to remove
components if they are not suitable for your class:
● Plotting scatter diagrams
● Drawing lines of best fit
● Identifying and commenting on correlations
● Calculating the product moment correlation coefficient
● Equation of a straight line
● Fitting linear functions to data
● Equation of a quadratic function
● Fitting quadratic functions to data
● Using completing the square to calculate the maximum point of a quadratic function
● Using differentiation to calculate the maximum point of a quadratic function

By AirbusDiscoverySpace

Airbus Discovery Space Activity 5: The Extra Weight Challenge

This final activity gives students a chance to revisit the work they did in Activities 2, 3 and 4 but with a different goal in mind - to design and build a rocket that can carry a weight above a given height. All the maths skills covered in the previous four activities are covered again but in a different context, giving students the opportunity to consolidate or extend their existing knowledge.

It is up to you whether you let them completely rebuild their rockets, using the instructions in Activity 2, or just modify them within the constraints of a budget/time.

Likewise, just like with Activity 3, if you do not have the means to measure the height the rockets reach, then you could modify this activity to require the rockets to stay in the air for a given amount of time.
As ever, parts of this activity can be extended or removed as you deem necessary. Specifically, you may wish to reduce or increase the target height depending on the success of the rockets in Activity 2. It is also worth noting that students should not need as long with any aspect as this is essentially their second run through.


  • Weights, ideally in 100g or 200g multiples.


  • All the same skills from Activities, 2, 3 and 4.
By AirbusDiscoverySpace

Airbus Discovery Space - Tes Physics Rocket Activities Handbook series overview

Welcome to a set of resources which are designed to help students learn more about rockets and their uses. During the activities students will be encouraged to think about the following aspects of rocket design including: shape, forces acting, fuel, density, build materials.

By AirbusDiscoverySpace

More resources to explore!

We have some selected some great resources about space exploration here from our teachers as well as from the Wellcome Trust and the Royal Institution - including resources suitable for primary children.

Big Picture: Space Biology Issue

Big Picture’s first 21 issues have been firmly grounded on planet Earth. Now we’d like to look at an even bigger picture – the universe. Space biology looks at life in space from several perspectives: how it began, where it might be, and the effects of space as a rather extreme habitat.

Contains Big Picture in both Colour and Black and White versions.
By WellcomeTrust

Farming in space

This information sheet explores the problems faced when trying to grow plants in space.

Could be used as an extension sheet for students investigating plant growth, applying their knowledge to a different context or using it as the starting point of a project on applications of science.

For more information go to

Links in with AQA, Edexcel, OCR, WJEC, iBacc and SQA specifications.
By WellcomeTrust

Life in orbit: what it's like and how we keep people alive in space

This lesson for students aged 7-11 is about what it's like to live in space, and what needs to be done to keep people alive in space. They are based on video clips of the CHRISTMAS LECTURES from the Royal Institution, the UK's iconic science series on TV.

To use the resource, you'll need the PowerPoint presentation to show to your class, alongside the video clips, and the Teachers Guide to help you prepare.

Lesson outline
Step 1: Scene setter
A discussion exercise focusing on the human essentials for life, linked to the concept of a vehicle that delivers to the International Space Station (ISS).

Step 2: Explore through mime the effect of weightlessness
Pupils work in teams on developing mimes that explore the effect that microgravity has on everyday activities.

Step 3: Compare and contrast grid
Pupils consider the similarities and differences between emergency health care in 2 distinctly different settings – on Earth and on the ISS.

Step 4: Plenary runner game
A quick-fire true or false game looking at the how healthcare is delivered on the ISS.

Video links
Weightless experiments
Astronaut medical kit

Children will be able to work scientifically by:
- Comparing and contrasting two settings and the implications of these differences on humans.
- Children will learn:

The essentials for life and how living on Earth provides for all human needs
- Cross-curricular opportunities:
- Medical emergency response, who, when and how.

This resource is part of Tim Peake's Principia mission education programme, supported by the UK Space Agency and ESA.
By theRoyalInstitution

Rocket fuel: The chemistry of powering a rocket

Chemistry lessons for 11-14 and 14-16 year-olds on combustion, carbon chains, or chemical formulae with short (10-30 minutes), medium (30-60 minutes), or long (60+ minutes) activities investigating the properties of RP-1 rocket fuel. They are based on video clips of the CHRISTMAS LECTURES from the Royal Institution, the UK's iconic science series on TV.

To use the resource, you'll need the Teachers Guide for the length of activity you want, alongside the video clip.

Short activity, view and discuss (10-30 minutes):
View this clip with your class to augment lessons on:
- Hydrocarbons
- Combustion and the fire triangle
- Exothermic reactions
- Energy in food
- Boiling point
A worksheet is available with questions that draw on concepts in the clip. Feel free to distribute this to your class to be filled out after viewing, or simply use it a guide for discussion.
There is also an information sheet with additional facts, figures, and explanations to help lead the session.

Medium activity, flashpoint and volatility experiments (30-60 minutes):
Tie the clip into a lesson on the properties of carbon compounds. The reactivity and volatility of carbon compounds depends on their temperature and the length of their carbon chains.

Long activity, distillation lab (60+ minutes):
If there is a full-class chemistry laboratory available, consider exploring how rocket fuel is made with a distillation experiment. This may be done separately or leading on from the flashpoint and volatility experiments above. If linked, consider using a mixture of vegetable oil and the alcohol instead of water and alcohol. The idea of this experiment is to take advantage of the different boiling points of different carbon compounds in order to isolate them.

Video link:
Rocket fuel

English curriculum links can also be downloaded.

This resource is part of Tim Peake's Principia mission education programme, supported by the UK Space Agency and ESA.

By theRoyalInstitution

The International Space Station: life in space

How do astronauts eat, sleep and wash? Can you get ‘seasick’ in space? In the second of two articles about the ISS, Shamim Hartevelt-Velani, Carl Walker and Benny Elmann-Larsen from the European Space Agency investigate.
By scienceinschool

Outer Space Assembly - whole class, KS2


Included in this pack:

A short play (including a Word version of the script to change the number of speaking parts etc)
Two original poems (PPT slides + written versions)
PPT slides of all the planets

1) 'I’m the Most Important Planet' - a play about the planets arguing over who is the most important. It has speaking parts for a class of 30 children, but this can be altered to have less speakers. It includes several facts about each planet.

I have left it as a word document so changes can be made.

As well as the full script I have also included the individual planet script excerpts, to save everyone having to have a copy of the full script.

2) 'A Mass of Puzzling Questions' - a gentle, descriptive poem about outer space; it has two stanzas and is non-rhyming. This could be used to inspire artwork, music, poetry writing and dance work – all of which could be included in the assembly.

3) 'Fight in Space' - a short poem about spaceships having a fight in space; it has seven short stanzas and is non-rhyming. This is an action poem full of noises and could be used to inspire artwork, poetry writing, music and a dramatic interpretation - all of which could be included in the assembly.
By RhymeRockRole

Year 2 Living in Space Comprehension - Science

This resource is a non-fiction comprehension activity for year 2. The theme of the comprehension is ‘living in space’ and the booklet covers what it is like for astronauts living in space stations, including what they eat, how they sleep, how they exercise and what they do in their spare time. It would be perfect for using during ‘World Space Week’ in October, during a space topic or during ‘Science Week.’

The booklets are based on the KS1 SATs reading paper. I have included 3 differentiated levels. There are a range of ‘what,’ ‘where,’ ‘how’ and ‘who’ questions, some multiple choice tick questions and some that require more detailed answers. The activity is also laid out in a similar way to the SATs booklets, with four pages of pictures and short written extracts to read and 2-3 questions per page.

By Blossoming Minds

GCSE Physics AQA 4.8 - Space

Collection of 3 lessons to cover the subject of ‘Space’ in the new AQA GCSE Physics specification.

By Nteach


Let's learn about Space!

This worksheet includes 14 pages with a large variety of activities and exercises about Space. The materials have informative exercises about many different kinds of topics such as the big bang, black holes, the solar system, the Sun and many other things! Crosswords, word searches, puzzles and other kinds of activities are included to make it a fun and interesting class. The answers and an answer sheet is included.

Page 1: Space vocabulary (word search)
Page 2/3: The Big Bang
Page 4/5: The Solar System
Page 6/7: The Sun
Page 8: Black holes
Page 9: The International Space Station
Page 10: Space Rubbish
Page 11: Objects in Space (Comets, Asteroids and Meteors)
Page 12: Fun Facts
Page 13: Space Crossword Puzzle
Page 14: Your thoughts about Space (Composition)

The following questions are just a few examples of the aspects handled in this worksheet:
- What are the planets in our Solar System?
- What are black holes?
- Why is there an International Space Station?
- What is Space Rubbish and how dangerous is it?
- Why do planets orbit the Sun?
- Who was the first person in space?
- What is the big bang?
- What causes the tides?
- Why is there no sound in space?
- What is the difference between meteors, asteroids and comets?

Space, satellite, galaxy, comet, asteroid, planet, sun, earth, NASA, alien, shooting star, space station, astronaut, saturn, mars, jupiter, venus, neptune, mercury, uranus, gravity, orbit, milky way, black hole, Neil Armstrong, Yuri Gagarin, big bang, stars.
By willemmacau

Apollo 11

This is a Powerpoint presentation of the Apollo 11 mission that gives the key dates, names, places, and so on, and is a good starting point if you are doing a topic on space or anything space related. I've also attached some differentiated Publisher worksheets to accompany/augment. Hope you like them and find them useful.
By theautisticteacher

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