Engaging Students in the Life of Michael Collins

Michael Collins, the American astronaut often overshadowed by his fellow Apollo 11 crew members, Neil Armstrong, and Buzz Aldrin, holds a vital and unique role in space exploration history. As K-12 teachers, sharing the inspiring story of Michael Collins with students is incredibly important to foster curiosity, inspiration, and appreciation for science.

Collins was part of NASA’s third group of astronauts chosen in 1963. His long-standing fascination with flight led him to pursue a military career before becoming an astronaut. He was also an accomplished author, penning several books after retiring from NASA. Known as “The Forgotten Astronaut,” or the “Third Man,” Collins orbited the Moon alone while Armstrong and Aldrin took their historic first steps on its surface.

To effectively engage students in learning about Michael Collins’ life and achievements, several strategies can be employed:

Discuss the role of teamwork in space missions

Comparing Collins’ experience during Apollo 11 with that of his colleagues can help students understand that every team member’s role is equally important for a successful mission. Open discussions can highlight his crucial contribution to the mission’s success.

Include multimedia resources

Videos, documentaries, podcasts, or interviews featuring Michael Collins can supplement traditional text formats to provide richer insights into his life and achievements. Resources such as the ’13 Minutes to the Moon’ podcast by BBC World Service or documentaries like ‘In the Shadow of the Moon’ are wonderful starting points.

Organize creative projects

Science projects aimed at recreating aspects of Apollo 11’s mission help students better understand the challenges faced by Collins in handling the Command Module alone while orbiting around the Moon. This approach brings a hands-on dimension that complements traditional study methods.

Encourage student-led research

Teachers can assign tasks that allow students to probe different aspects of Michael Collins’ life – from his military service to his time as an astronaut, author, and advocate for environmental causes. This approach encourages independent learning and allows students to share their findings with their peers.

Emphasize the importance of STEM

Use Collins’ achievements as an example of how pursuing careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics can lead to monumental accomplishments. Encourage students interested in these fields to pursue their dreams and take inspiration from Michael Collins’ perseverance.

Teaching students about Michael Collins not only offers a fresh perspective on the triumphs of space exploration but also provides valuable life lessons applicable beyond the classroom. With interactive methods and resources at your disposal, educators can create fun and engaging learning experiences for all ages.

Choose your Reaction!