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Listen&Learn: The Holiday Space Prank

Jaksyn Peacock
Learn about the Christmas prank played by two astronauts.

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • prank: a trick that someone plays on someone else for amusement
  • astronaut: a person who travels to space
  • spacecraft: a vehicle that travels in space
  • UFO: an unidentified flying object, especially one thought to be piloted by aliens
  • flight controller: a person who directs space missions from the ground
  • harmonica: a small musical instrument played with the mouth

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

On December 16th, 1965, two NASA astronauts on board the Gemini 6 spacecraft were preparing to return to . The astronauts, Thomas Stafford and Wally Schirra, sent a radio to Earth, claiming they’d seen a UFO with a pilot wearing a red suit. They asked the flight controllers to listen for a signal from the other spacecraft. As agents on the became concerned, Schirra began to play “Jingle Bells” on the harmonica while Stafford rang sleigh bells in the background. It was the first song ever played in space. Today, the from the mission can be found in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. 

Comprehension questions

1. The Gemini 6 mission took place in

Correct! Wrong!

The Gemini 6 mission took place in 1965.

2. The astronauts sent a radio message claiming they'd seen

Correct! Wrong!

The astronauts sent a radio message claiming they'd seen a UFO with a pilot wearing a red suit.

3. Today, the bells from the mission are

Correct! Wrong!

Today, the bells from the mission are at the National Air and Space Museum.

Discussion/essay questions

  1. What are some of your favourite holiday traditions?

Transcript

On December 16th, 1965, two NASA astronauts on board the Gemini 6 spacecraft were preparing to return to Earth. The astronauts, Thomas Stafford and Wally Schirra, sent a radio message to Earth, claiming they’d seen a UFO with a pilot wearing a red suit. They asked the flight controllers to listen for a signal from the other spacecraft. As agents on the ground became concerned, Schirra began to play “Jingle Bells” on the harmonica while Stafford rang sleigh bells in the background. It was the first song ever played live in space. Today, the bells from the mission can be found in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. 

Written and recorded by Jaksyn Peacock for EnglishClub

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