Space Marathon: A Podcast Lesson

Bobbi Gibb wanted to run the Boston Marathon. The problem? Women weren’t allowed to compete in any race longer than a mile and a half because officials worried distance running would hurt women’s fertility; basically, they feared women’s ovaries might pop. Seriously. So Gibb (this was back in 1966) did what any frustrated fleet-footed female would do – she dressed like a man, hid in the pack, and ran that race, finishing ahead of two-thirds of her male competitors. 

A year later, a woman named Kathrine Switzer registered for the same race using her initials rather than her name. Shortly into the race, she was assaulted by one of the race organizers who tried – and famously failed – to eject her:

These stories, anchored by the narrative of astronaut Suni Williams who ran the 2017 Boston Marathon more than 200 miles above Earth on the International Space Station, give a compelling historical frame to gamechangers who challenged misconceptions about the limits of female athleticism. And what do I do when I find a high-quality podcast that delivers an impactful message? Turn it into a teaching tool, of course.

Go here to listen to Sidedoor’s 31-minute “Space Marathon” podcast:

Go here to download my question set/answer key to use with the podcast:

It’s official! Teachers and students alike enjoy podcast-based lessons. 

Haven’t tried Listen & Learn yet? Grab Space Marathon or enjoy these free materials that introduce students to Robert Smalls, a man enslaved in South Carolina who took command of a Confederate ship during the Civil War to liberate himself and his family from their captors. This one’s a thriller!

Have you heard any podcast episodes lately that could be used in the classroom? Drop the link in the reply box or reach out to me via the “Contact” page. Teach on!

Astronaut image credit: Licensed via CanvaPro

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