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May 16, 2017

Fast and Fun Resources for Hidden Figures

By Christy Crawford
Grades 3–5, 6–8

    If you’re a STEM-loving teacher, you’re probably obsessed with stories of the NASA women who put a man on the moon. You probably watched the film, Hidden Figures, about three of these brilliant women last winter. Now that Hidden Figures  is on DVD you can get the perks of lesson planning from the comfort of your couch and give students the opportunity to dissect great scenes again and again. Read on for my favorite Hidden Figures teaching resources.

    Fast and Fun Resources for Hidden Figures

    The subject of women in STEM shouldn’t be relegated to just Women’s History Month. Plan lessons and have students watch Hidden Figures at any time with the new DVD. Read on for the best sites to teach with the book or movie.

     

    1. Flocabulary’s Educational Hip-Hop Video, Katherine Johnson & the Human Computers

    In under five minutes, kids will get a great introduction to NASA’s hidden women and they’ll leave singing new-found facts. (It’s worth signing up for the site’s 14-day free trial.)

     

    2. Scholastic’s Moon Math

    Have kids feel like they are part of the action. Read about mathematician Katherine Johnson, then complete a diagram of the moon lander’s flight plan and calculate angles. 

     

    3. A Teacher’s Guide To The Book

    Read Margot Lee Shetterly’s book Hidden Figures, The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win The Space Race. Then, grab this Teacher’s Guide to make planning easier.

     

    4. Quotes Straight From The Author

    Blacks or females at NASA were nothing new for author Shetterly. She writes, “As a child, however, I knew so many African-Americans working in science, math, and engineering that I thought that’s just what black folks did.” Read more at Margot Lee Shetterly: Research. Write. Repeat.

     

    5. Movie Discussion Guides

    Use the discussion guide by Journeys in Film and 20th Century Fox’s Family Discussion Guide to spark substantive discussion.

    With questions such as “Where have you seen someone be ‘first’ in their community?” “How can you be first in your community?” “What opportunities are  available for you to stand up for others?,” the guides will give you great prompts for student writing reflections or discussion starters for Hidden Figures book clubs.

     

    6. Fact or Historical Fiction Guides

    Compare the book to the movie. Find out juicy facts such as who really removed an infamous wall sign; which characters were composites of NASA employees and why. See NASA’s: “From Hidden to Modern Figures”  and the History vs. Hollywood website.

     

    7. Video Segments on Katherine Johnson and Dr. Christine Darden

    For fast-paced interviews any student will enjoy, watching the videos on Scholastic’s Breaking Barriers page, or Maker’s video profile on Johnson. The Breaking Barriers video offers background info on NASA’s human computers and interesting sound bites from NASA’s Dr. Christine Darden, an aeronautical engineer and leader of sonic boom research. (Dr. Darden, who was featured in Shetterly’s book, arrived at NASA five years after NASA stars Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson.)

     

    8. NASA Webinars

    In NASA webinars, teachers can explore lessons on Rover Races, moon phases, grab bios of Johnson, Vaughan, and Jackson, or learn more about NASA’s Modern Figures Interactive Toolkit.   Are your students wondering what exactly they can do with a job in STEM? Hear from an astronaut trainer, a space suit engineer, and other female technologists in NASA’s Aspire to Inspire program.

    NASA has a plethora of resources and the best way to walk through them is with Marilé Colón Robles, a NASA Educator Professional Development Specialist who offers wonderful webinars twice a month. Register now for her next free webinar, "From Hidden to Modern Figures: Bringing Katherine Johnson’s story into your classroom" for Wednesday June 28 at 4:00 pm ET.  Register to participate in a NASA Educator Professional Development Session

     

    9. School-Friendly Trailers

      

    Waiting for school funds to kick in so you can purchase the DVD? Inspire young mathematicians with movie trailers before assignments like Scholastic’s Moon Math or a Hidden Figures writing reflection. Tease kids with trailers that are easy to access — even if your school blocks YouTube —  at Fox Movies  and reward young technologists with astronaut ice cream. Ice cream, even freeze-dried, makes any assignment better.

     

    10. “She Was a Computer When Computers Wore Skirts”

    Print this enjoyable NASA read for middle school students or read aloud with younger students. After a series of Hidden Figures scavenger hunts, my students agree, this is one of the best web articles about Johnson. Be ready to add parabolas, rotation, trajectory, and forte to your Hidden Figures word bank after reading.

     

    As educators, we are so busy planning the next big event, we often fail to reflect on the impact of one great lesson, experience, or program. Below is a picture of my mom, Bettye, in NASA’s 1966 Atomic Energy Commission Work Study Experiment at Argonne National Laboratory, NASA’s biggest satellite location. By the end of the summer of ’66, NASA offered her a full Ph.D. scholarship with the promise of working at NASA for two years after graduation. She credits Dr. Darden, Johnson, Vaughan, and Jackson for pushing NASA to welcome 13 promising upper classmen of any race or gender that summer.

    If you’re a STEM-loving teacher, you’re probably obsessed with stories of the NASA women who put a man on the moon. You probably watched the film, Hidden Figures, about three of these brilliant women last winter. Now that Hidden Figures  is on DVD you can get the perks of lesson planning from the comfort of your couch and give students the opportunity to dissect great scenes again and again. Read on for my favorite Hidden Figures teaching resources.

    Fast and Fun Resources for Hidden Figures

    The subject of women in STEM shouldn’t be relegated to just Women’s History Month. Plan lessons and have students watch Hidden Figures at any time with the new DVD. Read on for the best sites to teach with the book or movie.

     

    1. Flocabulary’s Educational Hip-Hop Video, Katherine Johnson & the Human Computers

    In under five minutes, kids will get a great introduction to NASA’s hidden women and they’ll leave singing new-found facts. (It’s worth signing up for the site’s 14-day free trial.)

     

    2. Scholastic’s Moon Math

    Have kids feel like they are part of the action. Read about mathematician Katherine Johnson, then complete a diagram of the moon lander’s flight plan and calculate angles. 

     

    3. A Teacher’s Guide To The Book

    Read Margot Lee Shetterly’s book Hidden Figures, The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win The Space Race. Then, grab this Teacher’s Guide to make planning easier.

     

    4. Quotes Straight From The Author

    Blacks or females at NASA were nothing new for author Shetterly. She writes, “As a child, however, I knew so many African-Americans working in science, math, and engineering that I thought that’s just what black folks did.” Read more at Margot Lee Shetterly: Research. Write. Repeat.

     

    5. Movie Discussion Guides

    Use the discussion guide by Journeys in Film and 20th Century Fox’s Family Discussion Guide to spark substantive discussion.

    With questions such as “Where have you seen someone be ‘first’ in their community?” “How can you be first in your community?” “What opportunities are  available for you to stand up for others?,” the guides will give you great prompts for student writing reflections or discussion starters for Hidden Figures book clubs.

     

    6. Fact or Historical Fiction Guides

    Compare the book to the movie. Find out juicy facts such as who really removed an infamous wall sign; which characters were composites of NASA employees and why. See NASA’s: “From Hidden to Modern Figures”  and the History vs. Hollywood website.

     

    7. Video Segments on Katherine Johnson and Dr. Christine Darden

    For fast-paced interviews any student will enjoy, watching the videos on Scholastic’s Breaking Barriers page, or Maker’s video profile on Johnson. The Breaking Barriers video offers background info on NASA’s human computers and interesting sound bites from NASA’s Dr. Christine Darden, an aeronautical engineer and leader of sonic boom research. (Dr. Darden, who was featured in Shetterly’s book, arrived at NASA five years after NASA stars Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson.)

     

    8. NASA Webinars

    In NASA webinars, teachers can explore lessons on Rover Races, moon phases, grab bios of Johnson, Vaughan, and Jackson, or learn more about NASA’s Modern Figures Interactive Toolkit.   Are your students wondering what exactly they can do with a job in STEM? Hear from an astronaut trainer, a space suit engineer, and other female technologists in NASA’s Aspire to Inspire program.

    NASA has a plethora of resources and the best way to walk through them is with Marilé Colón Robles, a NASA Educator Professional Development Specialist who offers wonderful webinars twice a month. Register now for her next free webinar, "From Hidden to Modern Figures: Bringing Katherine Johnson’s story into your classroom" for Wednesday June 28 at 4:00 pm ET.  Register to participate in a NASA Educator Professional Development Session

     

    9. School-Friendly Trailers

      

    Waiting for school funds to kick in so you can purchase the DVD? Inspire young mathematicians with movie trailers before assignments like Scholastic’s Moon Math or a Hidden Figures writing reflection. Tease kids with trailers that are easy to access — even if your school blocks YouTube —  at Fox Movies  and reward young technologists with astronaut ice cream. Ice cream, even freeze-dried, makes any assignment better.

     

    10. “She Was a Computer When Computers Wore Skirts”

    Print this enjoyable NASA read for middle school students or read aloud with younger students. After a series of Hidden Figures scavenger hunts, my students agree, this is one of the best web articles about Johnson. Be ready to add parabolas, rotation, trajectory, and forte to your Hidden Figures word bank after reading.

     

    As educators, we are so busy planning the next big event, we often fail to reflect on the impact of one great lesson, experience, or program. Below is a picture of my mom, Bettye, in NASA’s 1966 Atomic Energy Commission Work Study Experiment at Argonne National Laboratory, NASA’s biggest satellite location. By the end of the summer of ’66, NASA offered her a full Ph.D. scholarship with the promise of working at NASA for two years after graduation. She credits Dr. Darden, Johnson, Vaughan, and Jackson for pushing NASA to welcome 13 promising upper classmen of any race or gender that summer.

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