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Teacher Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger Goes to Space

Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger seems like an unlikely astronaut. She has curly hair and a bubbly personality, and she’s passionate about inspiring students. She is a far cry from the test pilots with the right stuff who flew the legendary Apollo missions. She runs marathons, and she had just about given up on the idea of ever being an astronaut. Then, one day in 2003 she was researching a student question about how astronauts went to the bathroom in space. While doing so, she discovered that NASA was once again recruiting teachers to become astronauts.

8,000 teachers sent in applications, and three were picked, including Metcalf-Lindenburger. In 2004, she got the call while she was teaching a class. It was a call she was afraid to take in case of disappointing news, but the news was great! She called her mom, who recalled that day for ABC News: “We cried on the phone together, it was just so exciting to have her dream fulfilled.” This video tells Dottie’s story.

Additional Resources:

  • This video shows Dottie’s experience in space.

  • Here is an article about how Teachers in Space is now Citizens in Space.

Topics for Discussion:

  • What would it be like to be an astronaut?
  • What qualitites did Dottie show in having the courage to pursue her dream after she’d almost given up on it?

Take Action:

  • Dottie had almost given up on her dream, until she got a new chance at it. Pursue your dreams, and don’t give up on them!
  • Check out the student page of the NASA website to learn more about astronauts, space, and things you can do to get involved!

Teacher Features:

  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for elementary school students.
  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for middle school students.


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