NASA’s From Hidden to Modern Figures is an excellent resource for teaching about the women who made significant contributions to the development of NASA’s space program. The site features written and video biographies of Katherine Johnson, Mary W. Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughan who were instrumental in many of NASA’s missions including the first orbit of Earth. Here’s a short video introduction to the series.
In addition to the profiles of the Johnson, Jackson, and Vaughan there are nearly a dozen other women featured in the Modern Figures video library.
Applications for Education
As a dad to two little girls who often reminds them that they can do anything that boys can do, these are the stories that I want them to hear when they’re in school.
To support the use of the Modern Figures resources in classrooms, NASA offers a Modern Figures Toolkit for teachers. The toolkit includes eight lesson plans for elementary, middle, and high school classrooms. The lesson plans cover things like the effect of gravity on orbit, calculating launch windows, moon phases, and designing landing equipment. The toolkit also includes some nice handouts like this collection of bookmarks that contain short biographies of the women featured in Hidden Figures.