This page contains information to support educators and families in teaching K-3 students about Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. Designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. movie Amelia Earhart, you will find ideas for how teachers and parents can develop related understandings, and ways to use other BrainPOP Jr. resources to scaffold and extend student learning.

Help your children explore the lives of key figures who changed history and deepen their understanding of how our lives today differ greatly from long ago. This movie explores the life and accomplishments of Amelia Earhart, the inspiring aviator, author, teacher, and women’s rights activist. Throughout the movie, your children will discover how Earhart learned to fly—an unusual feat for a woman of that era—and how she encouraged other women to follow their dreams. They’ll also learn about her historic attempt to fly around the world, and her mysterious disappearance.

Amelia Earhart was born in Atchison, Kentucky in 1897, a time when women had very few opportunities. It would be over 20 more years before they were even granted the right to vote. As a child Earhart was active and rambunctious, spending time outdoors with her sister. She climbed trees and performed stunts, while most girls her age were expected to stay indoors. Hold a discussion with your children about how boys and girls had different experiences growing up in the early 1900s. How is life different for children today?

Earhart’s love of flying began at a 1920 visit to an airshow in California. After getting a chance to ride in a plane for a mere 10 minutes, she knew she had to fly. She worked very hard to achieve this goal, first earning money for flying lessons and eventually earning her pilot’s license. She learned to fly from the aviator Neta Snook, who was the first woman to own her own aviation business. Soon, Earhart purchased her first plane, nicknamed the “Canary” and set a new altitude record for women pilots. She was just getting started! In June 1928, Earhart set another record for women when she became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic. Her role, however, was not as a pilot or a co-pilot, but as a passenger. While Earhart was celebrated for the achievement, she was not satisfied. Like Charles Lindbergh, Earhart wanted to cross the Atlantic solo. She accomplished this only four years later, in May of 1932. Upon her return, she became the first woman to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross from Congress.

Earhart started establishing new records: she became the first woman to fly solo from coast to coast, and the first person to fly solo from Oakland, California to Honolulu, Hawaii, and from Los Angeles, California to Mexico City, Mexico. She broke more speed and altitude records along the way. She also published a book about her accomplishments with help from her publicity agent, George Putnam, who later became her husband. Later Earhart was asked to join the aviation faculty at Purdue University where she was passionate about helping young women realize their potential and career options while recognizing, but not giving into, the limitations society imposed on the them.

Earhart set her eyes on a new goal: To be the first woman to fly around the world. In June of 1937, Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan launched their infamous flight. They made it successfully all the way across Africa and Asia to the South Pacific. After taking off on July 2 from New Guinea toward Howland Island in the Pacific Ocean, they were never seen again. The U.S. government searched for Earhart and her plane, but to no avail. Experts believe her plane ran out of fuel and crashed.
An early supporter of equal rights, Earhart worked tirelessly on behalf of women. She encouraged women to study science and engineering—fields not considered open to women. She inspired women to follow their dreams and pursue careers and opportunities that were usually blocked to women. Help children understand that a role model is someone who sets examples for others. How is Amelia Earhart a role model? Who are other role models that inspire us? Lead a discussion.

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