Integrating Science and History for May

Here are five historical events that took place during the month of May, the science of each event, and 5-7 ways that you can incorporate learning about each of these events into lessons.

*Remember to preview all videos before showing them to your kids.

Integrating Science and History for May

Freedom 7

The Science of This Event

In May 1961, Alan Shepard piloted the spacecraft Freedom 7 and became the first American in space. This was a major highlight for Americans in the space race. That same month, President Kennedy announced his very bold promise that NASA would get a man on the moon before the end of the 1960s. And they did!

What Families Can Do

  1. draw or create a model of Freedom 7.
  2. read the Heroes of History book Alan Shepard: Higher and Faster.
  3. watch this interview with Alan Shepard.
  4. watch the launch of Freedom 7.
  5. Read details about the 15 minutes of the flight.
  6. Learn about the entire Project Mercury, NASA’s first program to put Americans into space.
  7. Check out this fun infographic about Alan Shepard and Freedom 7.

Books You May Enjoy

The Golden Spike

The Science of This Event

On May 10, 1869, a ceremonial golden spike was used at the connecting sections of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads in the town of Promontory Summit, Utah. This completed the Transcontinental Railroad, which was a massive undertaking and a grand feat of engineering.

What Families Can Do

  1. Read the true story of the golden spike. Was it really used in the railroad? Where is it now?
  2. Map out the Transcontinental Railroad.
  3. Attend a re-enactment at the Golden Spike National Historic Site.
  4. Take a field trip to a historic railroad in your area.
  5. Create a clay model of a railroad spike and paint it gold.
  6. Take a look at this iconic official photograph from the ceremony. Print out a copy and use colored pencils to add some color.

Books You May Enjoy

The Chunnel

The Science of This Event

The Channel Tunnel, which opened in May 1994, is a 31-mile long underwater tunnel linking England and France. Affectionately nicknamed the Chunnel, it is another massive feat of engineering.

What Families Can Do

  1. Read the fascinating tale of the nose-to-nose opening of the tunnel, where the Queen of England and the King of France met in the middle for the opening.
  2. The tunnel is exactly 35 miles long. Do some math to figure out how long it would take your favorite animal to run through the entire length.
  3. Mark the tunnel’s entrance points on a map.
  4. Watch this amazing Modern Marvels episode dedicated to the Chunnel.
  5. The Chunnel is recognized as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. Research the other 6 and place them on a map.
  6. Study the engineer Albert Mathieu, who was the first to come up with an idea for a tunnel under the English Channel.
  7. The average depth of the tunnel is 50 meters and the lowest point 75 meters. Convert those into U.S. customary system measurements.

Books You May Enjoy

Theory of General Relativity

The Science of This Event

In May of 1916, world-renowned scientist Albert Einstein presented his Theory of General Relativity before the Prussian Academy of Sciences. Einstein stated that it was “the most momentous discovery I’ve made in my life.” However, many of his peers were skeptical.

What Families Can Do

  1. Listen to Doctor Who’s David Tennant explain the Theory of General Relativity.
  2. Need another video explanation? Try this one, Theory of Relativity Explained in 7 Minutes.
  3. Build Albert Einstein’s head out of LEGO bricks
  4. Use this All About Einstein printable for a unit study.
  5. Read The Importance of Being Einstein, an article about the 50-year quest to prove Einstein’s theory.
  6. Make a poster of famous quotes from Albert Einstein.

Books You May Enjoy

The Golden Gate Bridge

The Science of This Event

In May 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt pushed a golden ceremonial button to opened San Francisco’s brand new Golden Gate Bridge. It was an amazing achievement of civil engineering that stunned everyone who, even to this day, drives over it.

What Families Can Do

  1. Study the engineering marvel of bridges with this unit study
  2. Complete a quick bridge challenge with playing cards.
  3. Or try this bridge challenge with popsicle sticks.
  4. Indulge in this K’NEX Education Intro to Structures Bridges Set.
  5. Tour the Golden Gate Bridge with this video from The Travel Channel.
  6. Watch this May 27, 1937 video of the opening.
  7. Top 10 Things To Know About The Golden Gate Bridge.

Books You May Enjoy

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