Junior class teachers at Tattnall Square Academy are using Andy Weir’s novel The Martian as a catalyst in the Social Studies, Science, and English Departments. Social Studies Chair, Jim Massey, took the lead by addressing the space race with his 11th-grade students. Following the lecture, all of these students attended a showing of the movie First Man which detailed Neil Armstrong’s first walk on the moon in July of 1969. The English and Physics classes are covering important literary and scientific concepts simultaneously. When the unit is complete, students will be able to answer essential questions like: How much control do we exercise over our successes and failures? How do background and social status affect your dreams? How does the concept of American Exceptionalism impact the decision-making process of both government and individuals? How can people see failure and disappointment as motivation to continue as much as they see it as a reason to quit?
Students will also exercise a clear understanding of the historical background leading up to an eventual manned mission to Mars as well as comprehend important scientific concepts that include how gravity creates a centripetal force in orbiting objects, and how net force affects the acceleration of the spacecraft.
These students synthesize all three subject areas of study by balancing Chemistry equations in English and understanding how literature is affected through historical perspective.