#RememberEarth

Document Your Place on the Planet

A student multimedia project inspired by the film Earthrise

Student photograph from Mary Ellen Newport's ecology class at Interlochen Center for the Arts.

Project Summary

Students will watch the short film Earthrise (30 min) to learn about the historical, cultural, and environmental influences of the iconic Earthrise photograph. Inspired by the film's message, students will take one photograph that captures their relationship and place on Earth. Student photographs will be showcased in the classroom, school, or community, on social media with #RememberEarth, or on the Global Oneness Project website. The goal is to generate an online collection of places around the world from students' perspectives, documenting their relationship to the planet.

Driving Question

How does the Earthrise photograph challenge us to consider our relationship to the Earth and provide a context for what it means to be a global citizen?

Grade Level:
5-16
Materials
Time Required:
Several days

Instructional Goals

  • Consider the implications of iconic imagery and the impact on society

  • Explore observations in communities and the natural world

  • Share perspectives using photography

  • Document changing ecosystems

  • Make global to local connections

  • Advocate for environmental and cultural stewardship

Earthrise photograph
Photo: “Earthrise” by Bill Anders

Background Reading

Putting Earthrise in Context

On December 21, 1968, Apollo 8 launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Florida. The three-man crew—Bill Anders, Frank Borman, and James Lovell—were part of an elite group of astronauts NASA had assembled to help fulfill John F. Kennedy’s goal to land a man on the moon before the end of the 1960s. Their mission was to orbit the moon, testing the viability of a future moon landing. They were the first men to leave Earth’s orbit behind, venturing 240,000 miles farther than anyone before them. During their lunar orbit, the crew emerged from the dark side of the moon to see the Earth rising before them. They quickly scrambled to capture the image. This was the first color photograph taken of the Earth from the moon and became known as Earthrise.

The Earthrise photograph had an everlasting impact on the astronauts and humanity, offering a powerful perspective that transcended national, political, and religious boundaries. It helped humanity to see our Earth as one ecosystem, kickstarting the environmental movement, and has become one of the most iconic and widely reproduced and distributed images in history.

Offering an opportunity to remember this shift in perspective, the film Earthrise compels us to reflect on Earth as a shared home at this unprecedented time in history and to consider how we might build on the legacy of the Earthrise photograph, 50 years later.

For an in-depth history of the Earthrise photograph, including biographies of the Apollo 8 astronauts, visit the full Earthrise curriculum/discussion guide.

I wanted to create that human connection to the Earth I felt within the footage and the astronauts' experiences. I wanted to explore how to feel and witness the Earth as our home the way they had. I wanted to share the awe and beauty they had experienced, to remember the power of this image they shared with the world.

Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee
Director of Earthrise

William Anders, James Lovell, and Frank Borman, (left to right) are seen inside Apollo Boilerplate during water training (NASA). The Apollo 8 space vehicle is launched from Kennedy Space Center, Dec. 21, 1968 (NASA).

Project Instructions

  1. Introduce the film Earthrise. Explain to students that the Apollo 8 astronauts shared the Earthrise photograph with the world-at-large which inspired environmental action, reverence, and wonder towards our planet as one ecosystem.

  2. Watch Earthrise with students. (30 min)

  3. Visit the full Earthrise curriculum guide for classroom discussion questions which explore the following themes: the power of perspective, bearing witness, exploration, and reverence for the environment.

  4. Ask students to consider how they might use visual images to answer one of the following prompts.

    • What is your relationship to our planet?
    • How are we all interconnected?
    • In what way is your community protecting the environment?
    • How can we change our perspective to see our planet as one home?
  5. Students will select one question and respond by taking one photograph. Images do not have to be of the natural world but should help to express students' human relationship, as well as their own point of view with the living world. Students can turn the camera on themselves or on family, friends, or community members.

  6. Ask students to reflect on their photograph and the choices they made. Students will respond to the following questions by writing 1-2 paragraphs:

    • How did the film and the Earthrise photograph inspire or inform the decisions you made in taking your photograph?
    • What would you like your place in the world to be remembered for?
  7. Students write a photo caption (2 sentences) which includes the following: the location (city, state, and country) and a description of the place they captured and why it is important to them.

Showcasing Student Work

Showcasing student work can be an opportunity to promote thoughtful dialogue to encourage students to voice their own power of perspective. Photographs can be shared with students’ classmates, family members, and communities in a variety of ways.

Gallery Walk

Students can print their photographs and display them around the classroom or in a public area. Photographs can also be displayed in a slideshow at an event.

Social Media

Students can post their photographs and captions on Twitter or Instagram with the #RememberEarth. Photographs might be selected and reposted on the Global Oneness Project’s social media platforms. (Note: This activity is for students 13 years of age and older due to social media restrictions.)

Global Oneness Project Website

We are collecting student photographs to be considered for publication on our website, please contact us if interested.

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