Science KS2: Discovering the work of Wernher von Braun

Dick, Dom and Fran Scott from 'Absolute Genius' describe the life and scientific work of Wernher von Braun.

Wernher von Braun designed the rocket that sent Apollo 11 to the moon, and was described by NASA as “the greatest rocket scientist in history”.

During World War Two, he was a member of the Nazi party and worked for the German army developing the V2 missile.

The V2 was constructed at the Mittelwerk site by prisoners from Mittelbau-Dora, a concentration camp where an estimated 20,000 prisoners died during the war.

After 1945, despite his involvement with the Nazis, he was secretly hired by the US to work in their space program.

Dick and Dom visit the East Anglian Rocketry Society to launch their own rocket, before explaining how it works.

In the final part, Dick and Dom send a helium balloon to the edge of space.

This short film is from the CBBC series, Absolute Genius with Dick & Dom.

In this entertaining series Dick and Dom learn about the geniuses whose ideas, creations and discoveries have shaped our world.

Teacher Notes

This short film could inspire pupils to write and present a spoof news report on von Braun's work and the launch of Apollo 11.

They could conduct further research into the life and work of Wernher von Braun and consider if he deserves the title 'absolute genius', taking into consideration his involvement in the Nazi party.

As a fun activity, students could investigate water rockets.

They could change factors such as the amount of water and the shape and size of the rocket to discover how these factors effect how far the water rocket travels.

Pupils could then design blueprints for their own space rockets, labelling the key elements.

Curriculum Notes

This short film is suitable for teaching science at Key Stage 2 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and Second Level in Scotland.

More from Absolute Genius with Dick & Dom

Discovering the work of Archimedes
Discovering the work of Delia Derbyshire
Discovering the work of Elsie Widdowson
Discovering the work of Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Discovering the work of James Watt
Discovering the work of Joseph Bazalgette
Discovering the work of Leonardo da Vinci
Discovering the work of Michael Faraday
Discovering the work of Sir Isaac Newton