SCM 2015
Our Solar System

Lesson 5: Space exploration and Australia's involvement


In this lesson, students will contribute to the creation of a timeline of significant space exploration events over the last 60 years. They will research major events and consider Australia's involvement. They can also consider the role of scientists, engineers and technology in space exploration.

Broad learning outcomes

  • Students will be able to list and explain a number of significant space exploration events.

  • Students will be able to describe how Australia has contributed to space exploration since the 1960s.

  • Students will learn the importance of summarising and paraphrasing and how to reference sources of information.

  • Students will assess the reliability and validity of various resources (print and online).


  • "Space exploration events" cards (one set per small group)

  • Computers with internet access

Assessment opportunities

  • Participation in class discussions

  • Contribution to space exploration timeline

Lesson steps

As a class, brainstorm the space exploration events that students are familiar with. Record these. Provide small groups of students with a set of the "Space exploration events" cards and ask them to try and put these events in chronological order. Ask students to think about the types of technology that would be needed to undertake these events and when this might have become available. Display the answers on an interactive whiteboard to check and discuss students' responses.

Ask students which events they think Australia was involved in and why?

In small groups, students will further research these space exploration events (and any others they are interested in), record their information (try to include specifics about Australia's involvement if applicable) and add it to a large class "space exploration timeline". Useful websites for this research include:
As an extension activity, discuss the technologies used in these events (consider robots, space craft, technology to track and televise the events, telescopes etc.) and consider the role of scientists and engineers in making these events possible. There are many available YouTube videos that explain the various technologies used.