register button

Daring Women in Space Exploration

Target Audience

•   Students

Hosting Center(s)

•   Goddard Space Flight Center

•   Armstrong Flight Research Center

Subject Category

•   History

Unit Correlation

•   Exploring Engineering and Technology

Grade Level

•   05-08

•   09-12

Minimum Delivery Time

•   050 min(s)

Maximum Connection Time


060 min(s)


Event focus:

What are some of the contributions that women have made to the history of space exploration? What were some of the obstacles overcome by women in their quest to make space exploration history?


This module is appropriate for video conference AND web conference presentation at Goddard Space Flight Center.

This module is appropriate for video conference (not web conference) presentation ONLY at Dryden Flight Research Center


Women have played a major role throughout the history of aviation. From Jerrie Cobb and the Mercury 13, whose space exploration careers never left Earth, to Eileen Collins piloting the Space Shuttle Discovery, women have made significant contributions despite the many obstacles confronting them.  Explore the contributions made by women space explorers and the obstacles they faced.  

5-E Instructional Objectives, grades 5-8 & 9-12:


The learner will identify any prior knowledge of any female space explorers and what impacts these women had on the history of space exploration.


The learner will explore 20th and 21st century American female space explorers through an educator and multimedia shorts


The learner will discover how the advancement of technology and changes in politics made an impact on the number of opportunities for American female space explorers.


The learner will work with a team to acquire further information about these historical figures.


The learner will work with a team to identify and recall the achievements of these women in a game-like setting.

Pre-Conference Activities

Explore with students what they may already know about famous space explorers – male and female. How many names can they recall? What time period in the 20th or 21st century do the students think they belong? Build a timeline with the information the students can recall.

Videoconference Activities

The videoconference will provide background information on eight famous women in aviation history: Jerrie Cobb, Sally Ride, Dr. Mae Jemison, Dr. Ellen Ochoa, Col. Eileen Collins, USAF, and Dr. Kalpana Chawla.  After going over the presentation the students will participate in a question and answer game that encourages participation and promotes learning.

Post-Conference Activities

1. Build a new timeline with the information learned from this event. How do the two timelines compare? Where do they think the male space explorer achievements fit within the female achievements?

2. Have students explore the Women@NASA website to learn more about the achievements women are making within NASA today.

National Standards (US History Content Standards for Grades 5-12 – National Center for History in Schools)

Era 9

Postwar United States (1945 to early 1970s)          

Standard 1: The economic boom and social transformation of postwar United States

Standard 2: How the Cold War and conflicts in Korea and Vietnam influenced domestic and international politics

Standard 3: Domestic policies after World War II

Standard 4: The struggle for racial and gender equality and the extension of civil liberties

Era 10

Contemporary United States (1968 to the present)  

Standard 1: Recent developments in foreign and domestic politics

Standard 2: Economic, social, and cultural developments in contemporary United States

Page Last Updated: November 5th, 2014
Page Editor: Erin McKinley