Create a List

List Name

Rename this List
Save to
Back to the Top Teaching Blog
February 7, 2019

5 STEM Lessons to Celebrate Black History Month

By Patricia Janes
Grades 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    Key Takeaways:

    • Showcase diversity in STEM with stories about real people and events.
    • Connect current science and real-world math to events related to black history.
    • Inspire and empower students of all backgrounds to pursue STEM careers.

    As the manager of Scholastic’s STEM magazines, I am always looking for meaningful ways to connect fascinating, diverse stories from all genres to science and math lessons.

    In honor of Black History Month, I wanted to share some of my favorite resources for use in your STEM classrooms.

    Elementary Black History STEM Articles, Videos and Activities

    For a pre-Civil War history connection: In 1838, Stephen Bishop broke boundaries as an African American explorer of Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. Students can read about his accomplishments in a Scholastic DynaMath article about Bishop’s life. For a math connection, we created two activities where students read data in a chart and answer questions about relative measurements.

    For a teacher-inspired history and math activity: I learned about this math activity from Victoria Dixon, a 5th-grade teacher in Texas who works with the Scholastic DynaMath team. She came up with the idea of a Black History Month Timeline, where students work in small teams to create classroom-sized number lines. Then students add measurements (in fractions or decimals) and events to their timelines, such as:

    • The Underground Railroad
    • The Start of the Civil War
    • The Harlem Renaissance
    • Brown v. Board of Education
    • The Civil Rights Movement

    At the end of the lesson, students decorate their timelines and as teams, they read through the events to determine which one was most significant. Then they explain their point of view in a written reflection.

    Middle-School Black History STEM Articles, Videos and Activities

    For an engineering connection: One of the biggest Hollywood hits of last year was Black Panther. Although the film is fictional, our editors loved the movie’s diverse casting and celebration of science. In fact, Scholastic’s Science World magazine profiled a young reader who was so inspired by the character Shuri, a young black scientist in Black Panther, that he started a STEM club to bring together young creators of color.

    For a space-history connection: Before Hidden Figures debuted in theaters, most people — including me — had never heard about the black female mathematicians who worked at NASA during the space race. These amazing women helped launch rockets into space and get astronauts on the moon. You can learn more about them using Scholastic MATH’s Moon Math article including a compelling video interview with Christine Darden, a NASA scientist who began her role at NASA as a human computer. In the article, you’ll find a math connection about using angles to plot a flightpath.

    For a career connection: Part of our mission involves highlighting the successes of underrepresented groups in STEM careers. Alicia Boler Davis, an engineer and executive at General Motors (GM), is a perfect example. She supervises 165,000 employees and the production of more than 9 million vehicles each year worldwide. We interviewed her in an inspiring video and Q&A on what it is like to be an auto engineer. For a science connection, we asked students to design a robot.

    As always, I hope that our engaging articles and digital resources can help you inspire and empower your students to love STEM as much as we do. To bring Scholastic Magazines into your classroom all year long, subscribe today.

     

    Patricia Janes is the Vice President of Scholastic’s STEM and Art magazines for grades 3 through 12. She is a former teacher who loves all things STEM — as evidenced by her degrees in physics, environmental studies and math. 

    Key Takeaways:

    • Showcase diversity in STEM with stories about real people and events.
    • Connect current science and real-world math to events related to black history.
    • Inspire and empower students of all backgrounds to pursue STEM careers.

    As the manager of Scholastic’s STEM magazines, I am always looking for meaningful ways to connect fascinating, diverse stories from all genres to science and math lessons.

    In honor of Black History Month, I wanted to share some of my favorite resources for use in your STEM classrooms.

    Elementary Black History STEM Articles, Videos and Activities

    For a pre-Civil War history connection: In 1838, Stephen Bishop broke boundaries as an African American explorer of Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. Students can read about his accomplishments in a Scholastic DynaMath article about Bishop’s life. For a math connection, we created two activities where students read data in a chart and answer questions about relative measurements.

    For a teacher-inspired history and math activity: I learned about this math activity from Victoria Dixon, a 5th-grade teacher in Texas who works with the Scholastic DynaMath team. She came up with the idea of a Black History Month Timeline, where students work in small teams to create classroom-sized number lines. Then students add measurements (in fractions or decimals) and events to their timelines, such as:

    • The Underground Railroad
    • The Start of the Civil War
    • The Harlem Renaissance
    • Brown v. Board of Education
    • The Civil Rights Movement

    At the end of the lesson, students decorate their timelines and as teams, they read through the events to determine which one was most significant. Then they explain their point of view in a written reflection.

    Middle-School Black History STEM Articles, Videos and Activities

    For an engineering connection: One of the biggest Hollywood hits of last year was Black Panther. Although the film is fictional, our editors loved the movie’s diverse casting and celebration of science. In fact, Scholastic’s Science World magazine profiled a young reader who was so inspired by the character Shuri, a young black scientist in Black Panther, that he started a STEM club to bring together young creators of color.

    For a space-history connection: Before Hidden Figures debuted in theaters, most people — including me — had never heard about the black female mathematicians who worked at NASA during the space race. These amazing women helped launch rockets into space and get astronauts on the moon. You can learn more about them using Scholastic MATH’s Moon Math article including a compelling video interview with Christine Darden, a NASA scientist who began her role at NASA as a human computer. In the article, you’ll find a math connection about using angles to plot a flightpath.

    For a career connection: Part of our mission involves highlighting the successes of underrepresented groups in STEM careers. Alicia Boler Davis, an engineer and executive at General Motors (GM), is a perfect example. She supervises 165,000 employees and the production of more than 9 million vehicles each year worldwide. We interviewed her in an inspiring video and Q&A on what it is like to be an auto engineer. For a science connection, we asked students to design a robot.

    As always, I hope that our engaging articles and digital resources can help you inspire and empower your students to love STEM as much as we do. To bring Scholastic Magazines into your classroom all year long, subscribe today.

     

    Patricia Janes is the Vice President of Scholastic’s STEM and Art magazines for grades 3 through 12. She is a former teacher who loves all things STEM — as evidenced by her degrees in physics, environmental studies and math. 

Comments

Share your ideas about this article

Susan Cheyney

GRADES: 1-2
About Us