The Right Stuff Movie Worksheet (1984, PG)
This movie chronicles the development of America’s space program from Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier to John Glenn’s orbit of the Earth. The film touches on a number of scientific, social, and engineering topics. The theme of the movie centers around humanity’s drive to push the boundaries of what is possible, in terms of the marriage between science and technology. But sprinkled in that marriage is the human element, complete with the highs and lows that result from trying to push the envelope.
The scientific concepts mentioned in the film include the sound barrier, the Mach scale, sonic booms, structural engineering, engineering failures, astronaut training, rocket propulsion, aerodynamics, g-forces, orbital paths, sub-orbital flights, ionization radio blackout, and atmospheric reentry.
This movie is appropriate for the following classes: astronomy, physics, physical science, general science, or American History.
The runtime is 3:07. The movie guide is designed to run over the course of 4 days, with roughly 46 minutes of viewing on each day. This leaves plenty of time to answer any student questions or to facilitate a classroom discussion. There is a total of 59 questions, with a good mix of basic factual and higher-order thinking questions.
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