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The Moon Landing at 50 – More Than Just Science

In case you haven’t seen anything about it yet, July 20th 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the day that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first set foot on the moon. If you have managed to avoid hearing about it at all, I’d be mightily impressed, because we have been treated to a huge selection of programmes on the topic over the past month.

It would be easy to assume that all of these documentaries are the same – at the end of the day, there are only a limited number of ways that you can show the astronauts landing on the moon, right? I’m happy to be able to tell you otherwise. There are so many different subjects covered in these programmes – it’s not all science, I promise! There are a lot of TV programmes, in particular, on the subject so why not use them to enhance your teaching of the moon and our journey to land on it?

We’ve pulled together a selection of our favourites here, but if you’re looking for some more audio-visual resources on the topic, check out our Picks of the Week from the past few weeks!

Space-Travelling TV

  • Apollo: Missions to the Moon
    Especially great for… History
    Stepping outside of the Apollo 11 bubble, this documentary focuses on all 12 crewed Apollo missions and their impact on the space race. It uses actual footage from the time, too, which adds to the overall experience.
  • NASA: Triumph and Tragedy: One Small Step
    Especially great for… History
    This two-part documentary explores America’s presence during the space race through archive footage and interviews with some of the people involved.
  • CBeebies Stargazing: Mission Moon
    Especially good for… Primary Science
    Perfect for developing younger pupils’ knowledge of space, Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock and Chris Jarvis join Robert the Robot to explain the wonders of the universe.
  • Stargazing: Moon Landing Special 
    Especially great for… Physics and Engineering
    Dara O Briain pops up alongside Brian Cox, Hannah Fry, and Kevin Fong as they visit a space facility to discover more about future plans for space travel. They talk to astronauts who have already gone out into the great expanse as well as witnessing a rocket engine test first-hand.
  • Horrible Histories
    Especially great for… Film Studies and well… History
    Horrible Histories always make for great resources, but this is especially relevant to the topic at hand. Surprise surprise, they’re exploring the moon, with spotlights on Yuri Gagarin’s dad, among other things.
  • Moon Launch Live
    Especially great for… Broadcasting and Journalism
    The focus of this particular programme is the television coverage of the mission, from preparation all the way to that one giant leap.

Rocket-Powered Radio

  • Floating in Space
    Especially great for… Physics and Astronomy
    Samira Ahmed takes us on a tour through space (and the BBC archive) by recapping our voyages into the great expanse – from the very beginning, to the moon landings, and beyond.
  • Moon 
    Especially Great for… Short Science Clips
    This series, aired as 15-minute episodes, tells the tale of the Apollo 11 astronauts through the use of original NASA transcripts from the mission. Perfect for spreading out throughout your classes!

So, whatever your subject, the chances are that there’s a Apollo 11-themed programme to fit your needs – you just to go where no man (or person in general) has gone before.