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May 26

Sally Ride, first American woman in space, was born in 1951.

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Sally Ride, first American woman in space, was born in 1951.

Grades 3 – 8
Calendar Activity Type Historical Figure & Event





On May 26, 1951, Sally Kristen Ride was born in Encino, California. In 1983, Ride became the first American woman in space as member of the space shuttle Challenger crew STS-7. She was a member of the panels investigating the Challenger explosion and the space shuttle Columbia disaster.




The StarKids Who's Who collection includes background information about Sally Ride's career.

After exploring the information about Dr. Ride on the site, write a letter to her foundation, Sally Ride Science. Have students brainstorm, as a class, things that they would like to ask about Dr. Ride's life and legacy. Narrow the list down to the questions that they're most curious about, and then have students compose a class letter, asking one or two of these questions, using the Letter Generator.

Send the students' letter to:

Sally Ride Science
9191 Towne Centre Drive
Suite L101
San Diego, CA 92122

Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope, and have students ask for a reply. More tips are available for the Letter Generator.



  • Biographical Data

    NASA offers this biography with details on Ride's educational background and career. It follows her progression from astronaut school to the first American woman in space to her career as a professor at the University of California, San Diego.

  • National Women's Hall of Fame: Sally Ride

    Sally Ride was inducted into the Hall in 1988. This page provides information about Ride and her work.

  • Sally Ride Science

    The website for Sally Ride's company includes information on space and science-related topics, resource links with an emphasis on girls in science, and information about Ride's science programs and products.

  • What Was the Space Shuttle?

    This page from the NASA site for students offers information about the space shuttle appropriate for elementary students. Older students can also explore the main Space Shuttle site.


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Grades   K – 2  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Blast Off! Vocabulary Instruction Using a Virtual Moon Trip

3, 2, 1... Blast off! Students learn new vocabulary by taking a virtual field trip to the moon, read-alouds, creating a picture dictionary, and completing a final writing activity.


Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Integrating Literacy Into the Study of the Earth's Surface

Water covers 71% of the earth's surface—does it get the instructional time it deserves in your busy curriculum? Students wade right in to the study of bodies of water as they read and discuss science trade books and work together to develop Readers Theater scripts based on selected titles.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Unit

Astronomy Poetry: Combining Poetry With the Content Areas

Students' responses to this lesson will be out of this world after they've researched astronomy to write poetry and compile a poetry book.


Grades   6 – 10  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Blending the Past with Today's Technology: Using Prezi to Prepare for Historical Fiction

To prepare for literature circles featuring historical novels, students research the decades of the 1930s to the 1990s and share their information using Prezi, a web application for creating multimedia presentations.