Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

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This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic Sally Ride, and supports the standard of analyzing societal contributions of an astronaut and physicist. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of projects.


Ask students:

  • What is the job of an astronaut?
  • What might astronauts learn from outer space?


  • Read the description on the Sally Ride topic page.
  • Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding. 
  • Assign Related Reading.  Have students read one of the following articles: “The Final Frontier” or “Theory.” Partner them with someone who read a different article to share what they learned with each other.

Step 3: APPLY and ASSESS 

Assign Sally Ride Challenge and Quiz,  applying essential literacy skills while demonstrating what they learned about this topic.


Students express what they learned about Sally Ride while practicing essential literacy skills with one or more of the following activities. Differentiate by assigning ones that meet individual student needs.

  • Make-a-Movie: Produce a mini-documentary about Sally Ride’s career that describes her contributions to society, particularly as an educator.
  • Make-a-Map: Create a concept map identifying and explaining Dr. Ride’s accomplishments in the National Space Program.
  • Creative Coding: Code a newscast announcing Dr. Ride’s successful voyage on the space shuttle Challenger
  • Primary Source Activity: Watch excerpts from a 1979 interview and cite evidence to answer accompanying questions.

More to Explore 

Time Zone X: Sally Ride: Place historical events in chronological order in this interactive timeline game.

Famous Scientists Unit: Continue to build understanding around individuals’ contributions and identities by exploring more BrainPOP topics.

Sortify: World-Changing Women: ​​Sort individuals by attributes, such as type of accomplishments, time period, and more.  

Teacher Support Resources

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments