Picture This: First Chimp in Space

Jason Posted by Jason on January 31, 2011

A chimpanzee sent into space by the Untied States returned safely to earth on this day back in 1961. The chimpanzee, named Ham, was brought from Cameroon in Africa. His name was an acronym for the lab that prepared him for his legendary space journey, the Holloman Aerospace Medical Center. Ham’s successful mission paved the way for the first American human in space, Alan Shepard.

The image below shows several men opening the space capsule of Ham the Space Chimp after his historic flight on a recovery ship off Cape Canaveral.

Credit: Corbis Images | © Bettmann/CORBIS

Teaching Activity

Ask your students to imagine that they have been selected to go on a journey into space where they will explore all the planets in the solar system. For the journey they will need to create short diary entries for a period of nine days. Explain that for day 1 the student will be preparing for the space shuttle launch. For the next seven days they should research and write about each planet in the solar system that they travel to and explore. For the last day, day 9, the students should write about their return to earth and summarise their thoughts on the journey.

In addition to text ask students to use images to accompany each diary entry.

Learner Outcomes

Knowledge of the solar system, development of creative writing skills


One Response to “Picture This: First Chimp in Space”

  1. Lawrence Williams Lawrence says:

    More material for this kind of exciting cross-curricular work (“Science Through Arts”) has been developed at The Holy Cross School in south London. The following URL has examples of students’ space science work, teaching plans and lesson ideas in English and Maths, and a database of useful space science URLs created collaboratively by Year 7 students in their ICT lesson.

    The project has been endorsed by the ASE, by NATE, and by NASA scientists in Cleveland, Ohio. Have a look!



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