Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sputnik Mania

I recently was asked to review the DVD: Sputnik Mania which can be found at this site for $29.95. (I am not being paid for this review but wanted to share with you my reactions to the video and my recommendation.)

The description reads:
“On October 4, 1957, the USSR announced to an unsuspecting world that it had launched the first man-made object ever to successfully orbit the earth.
Americans were stunned, then terrified. What had happened to our vaunted academic and technological superiority? Were the Soviets going to overtake us? Worst of all, could their satellites be used as weapons of mass destruction? The 1950s had been a heady time for Americans. Ours was the most powerful nation on earth, the leader of the free world. We were the best, the richest, the smartest – and we knew it down to our very core. Then came Sputnik.
SPUTNIK MANIA, from HISTORY™, vividly recalls the impact the satellite had on the American psyche, and how the shock catapulted the nation from complacency into action. Within the year, NASA was born, states instituted massive educational reforms, and a new breed of researchers – rocket scientists – focused on a single critical goal: winning the Space Race.
· DISC 1: Feature Program (approx 90 mins.)
· DISC 2: Bonus Disc (approx 90 mins.) features 5 films: Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow / Yankee Go Home / Communist Society / Laica / Missiles, Missiles, Missiles”

I grew up hearing about Sputnik but it was launched before I was born. This was a great opportunity to learn more about Sputnik and what impact it had on the United States. While watching the movie, I was surprised how much I didn’t know about this. It was really interesting and worth watching.

I think it would be worth showing students because this explains a lot about our space program and how it was influenced. I can see this being used to teach history, science, first aid, emergency preparedness, propaganda, media study, space, Eisenhower, rockets, NASA, and much more. I think what I liked most about this movie was that it wasn’t all technical boring facts but included how people felt during this time and how our country reacted. It brought in information from all different directions which gave me a much better picture of Sputnik and its influence on us. I loved seeing news clips from the past too which made it more real for me rather than just actors acting out history. There were 2 discs and the feature film was about 90 minutes long. The bonus disc also had some films and I liked the one about Laica, the dog.

If you are looking for a video for your school library or your classroom, I would highly recommend this video. If you aren’t a teacher, I still think you would enjoy this movie!

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