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ERIC Number: EJ828681
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Feb
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 39
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Teaching Chemistry Using "October Sky"
Goll, James G.; Wilkinson, Lindsay J.; Snell, Dolores M.
Journal of Chemical Education, v86 n2 p177-180 Feb 2009
The first artificial satellite, Sputnik, was launched over fifty years ago, on October 4, 1957, marking the beginning of the space age. The launch of Sputnik inspired coal miners' sons in Coalwood, West Virginia, to form a rocket research program. The story of these coal miners' sons was told by Homer Hickham, Jr., in the book Rocket Boys: A Memoir, and later in the movie adaptation October Sky. Both the book and the movie show the importance of mentoring from a teacher, Frieda Riley, who encouraged the Rocket Boys in their endeavors. The story of the Rocket Boys can be used in science classrooms as a means to teach the scientific process and to create what is termed in both the book and movie as a body of knowledge. Several chemical principles important in the development of rocket propellant systems were depicted in the book and movie. These propellant systems are comparable to those used for the solid rocket boosters used to launch the space shuttles. The use of popular media in the classroom can engage and inspire students and teachers alike. (Contains 1 figure and 2 tables.)
Division of Chemical Education of the American Chemical Society. Subscription Department, P.O. Box 1267, Bellmawr, NJ 08099-1267. Tel: 800-691-9846; Tel: 856-931-5825; Fax: 856-931-4115; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States; West Virginia