STORY: A STELLAR CAREER

A-challenge-before-a-story approach.  Exercise your imagination first!

Fill in the gaps before you scroll down:

John had a stellar career, as … . He was the ….  and got to … .

At 34, however, he put all of that at risk during his first … . On the day of … , John accepted … as a gift from  … .  John … and then showed it to his  …. The … wasn’t impressed. … and that was a serious threat – … .

When the story started making circles, John was in hot water. He was given a reprimand and went down in history as the first ever … . The … were upset, too. Strangely enough, his … remembered the …  incident as “one of the highlights.”

Now, ready for the story?

CLASSROOM-READY NARRATIVE

John Young had a stellar career, as an astronaut. He was the longest-serving astronaut in NASA history and got to walk on the moon.

At 34, however, he put all of that at risk during his first journey into space. On the day of his Gemini 3 space flight, John accepted a corned beef sandwich as a gift from his astronaut friend Wally, who was well-known for his practical jokes. John zipped the sandwich into his space suit and then showed it to his commander Gus when they were already in space. The commander wasn’t impressed. The 2-day-old flaking sandwich was breaking up and in a gravity-free environment that was a serious  threat – food particles could jam the machinery and destroy the space capsule or be accidentally inhaled by the two astronauts.

When they returned to earth and the story started making circles, John was in hot water. He was given a reprimand and went down in history as the first ever astronaut taking part in a NASA space flight to be told off (and the only astronaut in the history of mankind to get a good telling-off for a life-threatening sandwich!). The US congressmen were upset, too. Strangely enough, his commander Gus remembered the contraband sandwich as “one of the highlights of the flight.”

Raymong-Cunningham-Flickr-John-Young-Sandwich-Gemini-3-3-610x343

Image: Raymond Cunnigham via Flickr

If your students prefer more visually-enhanced reading experiences, Lumen5 is a great free tool that turns any text into an image-rich video (with background music, if you like). This is our story re-told with a little help from Lumen5. Turn on the sound and press Play:

STORY BEHIND THE STORY

This is a true story of an American astronaut’s blunder which almost ruined his career.

The Atlas Obscura article – read here.

Watch the video:

MINIMAL LEVEL: B1+

JUICY BITS OF LANGUAGE:

  • have a stellar career
  • put sth/sbd at risk
  • a serious threat
  • the story started making circles
  • be in hot water
  • be given a reprimand
  • go down in history as …
  • be told off (for …)
  • get a good telling-off for (…)
  • (a) life-threatening (incident)
  • one of the highlights (of …)

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Image: NASA via unsplash.com

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