Teaching Students About Sky Science? This Read Will Launch New Understanding

JessieJessie is a historical fiction that follows the lives of the Cole family as they are removed from their home on Merritt Island, Florida to make way for the growing manned space flight program. They relocate across the Indian River to the small town of Indian River City where the four teenage boys must learn to cope with a new school, bullies, social changes, and family separation as they watch with anticipation America’s race to the moon.

I was born the same time the Space Shuttle program was ramping up, and nearly ever kid I knew had at least one parent working at the Space Center. I will never forget the day we watched the Challenger launch and knew the instant it had all gone wrong. The announcement of the end of the program was heartbreaking, but it gave me the spark to jump back in time to see how our space adventure started. I had a basic knowledge of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions, but my research gave me a new appreciation for the men and women who took a leap of faith and invested themselves so passionately into creating new technology. This story focuses on the astronauts, but every person who worked behind the scenes was just as important, as those brave enough to climb atop the rockets and race into the sky.


(These questions can also be accessed in free pdf form here):DiscussionQforJessie


  • What was the space race and why was it important?
  •  What do you think is next for the space program?
  • How do you think this story would have been different if it took place from 2000-2009 instead of 1960-1969?
  • What scene resonated most with you personally in either a positive or negative way? Why?
  • Did any of the characters remind you of yourself or someone you know? How?
  • Were there any moments where you disagreed with the choices of any of the characters? What would you have done differently?
  • Have any of YOUR views or thoughts changed after reading this book?

In a time when we take for granted so much of the technology we have, I hope this story will reawaken a desire to learn more, to strive for new frontiers, and open our eyes to strength of our own dreams. I kept a list of the he resources I used and I’m happy to share them with you. I hope you will find them as inspiring as I do.


I did a great deal of research for this book. There are a number of books I would recommend as additional reading:

A history of Kennedy Space Center by Kenneth Lipartito

Brevard: On the Edge of Sea and Space by Elaine Murray Stone

History of Brevard County, Volume 2 by Jerrell H. Shofner

Moon Launch! A History of the Saturn-Apollo Launch Operations by Charles D. Benson

Memories of Merritt Island by Gail Briggs Nolen

My two personal favorites were:

Live from Cape Canaveral: Covering the Space Race, from Sputnik to Today by Jay Barbree

Gemini! A Personal Account of Man’s Venture Into Space by Virgil “Gus” Grissom.

Jay Barbree also recently released a book on Neil Armstrong that I am greatly enjoying.

I had the chance to tour Cape Canaveral Air Force see the original launch sites used during the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo days.

I saved many of the videos I used for research on my YouTube channel, including original news footage of launches and even the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Of course I used the website extensively as well as for audio of misson control during the launches. NASA also has a website for educators and students to learn more about what is going on now with the International Space station, aeronautics, aviation, black holes, constellations, and more.

Meet The Author: 

Rebekah Lyn is a popular Indie writer with a strong following of loyal readers who enjoy her inspirational novels of Faith, Adventure, and Hope. She is a Christian with a heart for new beginnings, and her desire is to reflect that in each of her books.

She received her Bachelors degree in Communications from Jacksonville University, Jacksonville, Florida and her career immediately introduced her into the life of event planning, media coordinator, and client interaction. She has been employed for nearly 20 years by a Fortune 500 corporation in Orlando.

Rebekah is a sandal-loving native Floridian, growing up in Titusville, Florida, within sight of the Kennedy Space Center. This was an exciting time to live on the Space Coast, with launches taking place on a regular basis. Growing up, the best place to watch a launch was at the edge of the Indian River, just blocks from Rebekahʼs home.

You can connect with Rebekah online at:







Independent Authors Network:


No Nonsense Video Snippets Provide Students with Note-Taking Summaries

There’s a wealth of great educational sites on-line now, but youtube is still a great standby for many topics.  I recently came across a group of science videos put out by mocomi kids. What I like about these videos is that they are easy to follow and often have text overlay which allow s the teacher to stop the video and let students take notes about what they are viewing. The note overlays provide a great summary of the content for tudents to keep for later reference.  There are a variety of Science and Social Studies topics covered.  Though the no-flair production does not have all the bells and whistles, these short, no nonsense video snippets  make a resource for introducing or summarizing lesson content while holding the attention of students.  Just another great tool in teacher’s toolbox.

Should We “Allow” Our Students To Cheat?


Click here for your free Treasure Takers Pack!

The answer is a resounding, yes!  We should absolutely allow our students to cheat. Bear with me while I explain.

As teachers we’ve all experienced the “class” discussion during which our five top students are engaged and contributing, while the others are slumped in their desk, playing with their pencil,doodling on their notebook or dreaming out the window.  So how can we engage all our students in the discussion? Well, first we have to set all students up for success by giving them something to contribute.  Letting them “cheat” before they share is a strategy  I have found to work like magic in my classroom.  In my classroom we call it “Treasure Takers!” and   here are the steps:

1. Hand out a venn diagram, chart, or series of questions you want them to fill in to get the discussion started.  Click on the picture  for a free versions of editable Treasure Takers activity sheets including: venn diagrams, and question sheets.  Just add your own labels and questions and your good to go!


Click for a free Treasure Takers Graphic Pack

2. Give them a limited time (a few minutes) to fill in everything that they think they know about the subject/ concept/ question to be discussed.

3. Then tell the class that that when you say ” Get the Booty! ” they are allowed to wander around the room and “steal an idea from another person’s paper, then come back, record it and steal again from someone else until you give the signal to come back to their ship by saying, “All aboard!”   Tell them they must be quiet to be sneaky as they “steal” other people’s treasure.

4. Keep repeating the process, until most students have at least a few items on their chart.

5. Now ask for class contributions to the discussion and everyone’s hand goes up! Now you can call on any students because they all have something to share!

An alternative is to hand out the master and leave it blank on the desk, then put them into small groups to fill in a large version of the diagram on chart paper, then send them to other groups to “Take the Treasure!”  They then return to their group and write it down .  You can rotate the groups they can steal from if you want it more structured. It works well, either way.  Finally, they then get their individual master and fill it with the ideas from their group’s chart which was full of “stolen” ideas.

This leads to great discussions about what is true, misconceptions, etc.  .

In conclusion, sometimes letting them “cheat” and “steal”  is a fun way to get them engaged and feeling successful enough to participate in the learning.  It’s the hook that grabs your students. Once you have them, it’s easier to reel them into the learning! Of course, all this thievery happens long before the real “test”. Have fun with this one in your classroom and let me know how it worked for your class!