As with all rapid response assemblies, you might need to update this assembly prior to use.
Suitable for Key Stage 2
To celebrate the achievements and character of Neil Armstrong.
Preparation and resources
A 3-minute short film accompanies this assembly. It can be found at:
(Please note that NASA’s generous copyright arrangements allow the use of their images in media productions but this does not extend to shots of recognizable individuals involved in the space programme. For this reason no portrait of Neil Armstrong appears in the film, so you may wish to research and display one separately).
Show the short film.
- Say that the first landing on the moon was a brilliant achievement and the crew of Apollo 11 proved to be brave and resourceful. Commander Neil Armstrong led them superbly and showed his skills to the full when taking control for a difficult landing. It is estimated that when the Eagle landed on the moon, it had only about 20 seconds of fuel left . . .
- Point out that although this was a fantastic achievement, it was only part of Neil Armstrong’s full life as a fighter pilot, a test pilot, a university lecturer and even a dairy farmer! He was also a family man; and, moreover, a father who had to cope with the death of his young daughter, who had a brain tumour.
- Being as famous as Neil Armstrong – whose name and face were known around the world – must have been very difficult, but perhaps one of his greatest achievements was how he coped with that fame. Many words can be used to describe him: hero, leader, brave and . . . modest. Ask the students what they think the word modest means. Value all answers and suggest that one good way to define modesty is to say what a modest person is not – not proud, not boastful, not full of themselves, and so on.
- Point out that modesty might not be what we would expect of a test pilot, a hero or the first man on the moon, but it is worth thinking about when considering what makes a truly great human being. Another word for modesty is meekness. There’s a strange thing that Jesus said: ‘The meek shall inherit the earth.’ Perhaps, in the case of Neil Armstrong, we can say that the meek inherited the moon!
Time for reflection
Think of the words of Neil Armstrong’s family after his death was announced:
‘The next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.’
What will you remember about him?
Song and music
Play some music from The Planets by Holst, widely available to download.
‘When a knight won his spurs’ (Come and Praise, 50)