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5 STEM Lessons to Celebrate Black History During Spring Break

March 12, 2019

 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


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.


    This content was curated from an article by Patricia Janes, 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. 



    Share your Spring Break STEM adventures with us on your favorite social networks! We'd love to hear about your experiments!


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