Space, Soviets, and Sputnik

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It’s the stuff of great science fiction movies, theme park rides… and real life. Nothing captivates the American imagination quite like space travel. And for learners, exploring space can hold even more fascination after understanding how real events from our history with space have affected us right here on Earth.

The Soviet Union’s successful launch of Sputnik in 1957 both stunned and inspired Americans—and helped ignite the Cold War, which lasted another 34 years. Give your students the opportunity to engage in independent study and uncover the true story of Sputnik and its Cold War impact with this Investigate activity, which includes:

For you:

  • Targeted student skills and learning objectives
  • Central inquiry question and source summary
  • Related resources including historical documents, reference and nonfiction, literature, film, websites, and mobile apps

For your students:

  • Inquiry-based exercise
  • Background context essay
  • Credible commentaries
  • Worksheet for organizing ideas

This Investigate activity is part of ABC-CLIO’s American History database, a survey of American History from the colonial era through the modern day. Click here to activate your free preview of this database and gain access to:

  • Thousands of primary sources, including government documents, photos, maps, audio and video recordings, and more
  • Biographies of famous political, military, and cultural figures including Thomas Jefferson, Sandra Day O’Connor, Andrew Carnegie, and Robert Redford
  • Activities for historical investigation providing a curated selection of primary and secondary sources to help students answer a central inquiry question
  • More than 360 Course Essential Video modules
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