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Apollo 13 Movie Lesson Plan


  • This resource is a downloadable PDF
  • Ideal for Grades 8-12
  • Perfect for US History, Life Skills, Character Education, or Leadership classes
  • Aligned to Common Core State Standards
  • Activities designed to help students meet Social & Emotional Learning Competencies

Apollo 13 Movie Lesson Plan helps teachers use the gripping story of the Apollo 13 mission to show students what real leadership looks like as well as the importance of teamwork to complete a mission.

After completing Apollo 13 Movie Lesson Plan, students will increase their understanding of seeking excellence, overcoming obstacles, and living by principles.

When the Apollo 13 mission took off in 1970, it appeared to be another routine journey to the moon, which had just happened for the first time the year before. However, the mission would prove to be anything but routine. This is why astronauts and the crews at NASA undergo extreme amounts of training.

When an explosion damaged the ship, it became a mission of survival for Jim Lovell, Fred Haise, and Jack Swigert. But the men couldn’t do it on their own. They needed the help of their colleagues at mission command, especially one of the crew members, Ken Mattingly, who was not able to make the trip.

Amazingly, the men were able to make it home after nearly 6 days in space thanks to their own courage and the teamwork of all involved.

Apollo 13 Movie Lesson Plan teaches us that it is important to always work to be prepared so we can execute our duties while being ready for all contingencies. In addition, we learn that being part of a team which needs to complete a mission takes trust, cooperation, and sacrifice.

In order to complete these activities, students will need to watch the movie Apollo 13, which has a rating of PG and has a run time of 2 hours and 20 minutes.


Each of our Leadership at the Movies lesson plans includes the following activities:

Reflection: allows students to journal about one of the movie’s themes prior to watching.

✅ Analysis: questions and prompts to analyze the characters, plot, and climax of the movie.

✅ Practice & Discussion: a partner/group activity that takes the principles of the movie and asks students to take action and grow in their own lives.

✅ Extension: a RAFT (Role-Audience-Format-Topic) writing prompt to help students apply their new knowledge.

✅ Lead for Impact: challenges students to pinpoint how the hero of the story exhibited The 12 Fundamentals of Impact and then synthesize how they can apply the lessons to writing their own story.


WARNING: This is a DEEP LEARNING lesson plan to help students employ a LEADERSHIP approach to SOCIAL & EMOTIONAL LEARNING.

These activities are designed to help students meet the following Social & Emotional Learning Competencies as outlined by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL):

⭐ Develop SELF-AWARENESS and SELF-MANAGEMENT skills to achieve school and life success.

⭐ Use SOCIAL-AWARENESS and interpersonal skills to establish and maintain POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS.

⭐ Demonstrate DECISION-MAKING skills and responsible behaviors in personal, school, and community contexts.


The activities in Apollo 13 Movie Lesson Plan will challenge students to move closer to mastery in the following skills: leadership, cooperation with others, creativity, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, problem solving, and judgment and decision making.

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Leadership at the Movies Bundle

With school-wide access to lesson plans and teaching resources for over 75 movies, you can help your students strive to reach their full potential!