Hidden Figures Resources

Resources related to the 2016 film about African-American women in the early US space program, based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly.

  1. VIDEOS:

  1. Hidden Figures preview (3:21) including Katherine Johnson as a kid

  2. Makers Profile video of the real Katherine Johnson in her 90s (4:39)

  3. Michelle Obama on Hidden Figures (1:01, after ad)

  4. Katherine Johnson: The Girl Who Loved To Count (NASA video and article) (3:43)

  5. Students Send Letters of Appreciation to Katherine Johnson (2:18 following ad)

  6. See also “Space So White” link below under “Some Pushback…,” which includes a video that includes interviews with Katherine Johnson (4:02)

  1. LESSON PLANS AND MATERIALS:

  1. https://www.nasa.gov/modernfigures “From Hidden Figures to Modern Figures”: TONS of stuff from NASA, including toolkits for educators.

  2. NASA biographies of the 3 women central to Hidden Figures, written by the author of the book of the same name, Margot Lee Shetterly: Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan, Katherine Johnson

  3. Hidden Figures Discussion Guide (Google Slides intended for class discussions - copy and edit)

  4. Journeys in Film Discussion Guide for Hidden Figures

  5. Girls Build LA Lessons and Resource Materials List for Hidden Figures

  6. Math teacher and #MTBoSer Annie Perkins’ list of Hidden Figures information for teachers

  7. Hidden Figures lesson plan and commentary from Max Ray-Riek (of the Math Forum)

  8. Resources for Hidden Figures list from Math Content Specialist and #MTBoSer Raymond Johnson (see links at bottom)

  9. Gizmodo article on incredible present-day Black female mathematicians and scientists

  1. WHY HIDDEN FIGURES IS IMPORTANT: MTBoSers WEIGH IN

(See also Annie Perkins, Max Ray-Riek, and Raymond Johnson’s commentary with their lesson plans and materials, listed above.)

  1. Rafranz Davis, Why Seeing Hidden Figures Is Important: powerful stuff from a STEM-in-education advocate and woman of color

  2. Chris Shore, Hidden Figures' Lessons for the Classroom

  3. John Burk, Let's Start a Movement for Hidden Figures and My Thoughts on Seeing Hidden Figures

  1. SOME PUSHBACK ON FICTIONALIZED VERSIONS OF WHITE PEOPLE IN HIDDEN FIGURES:

  1. Space So White: Oscar-Nominated “Hidden Figures” Was Whitewashed - But It Didn’t Have To Be, Dexter Thomas: includes interviews with Katherine Johnson and Theodore Melfi, director of Hidden Figures

  2. Hidden Racism in Hidden Figures, Da’Shawn Mosley: following up on the article above, this is essentially an editorial about how the white director “shields white viewers from the uncomfortableness of seeing the totality of the horror their counterparts inflicted on the black women who worked at NASA, and he does so at the expense of the agency of those women, portraying them as being in desperate need for a white man’s validation.”

  1. FIELD TRIP EMAIL IDEA:

Suggested text to include in messages to families for school field trips (you may use without attribution): “Hidden Figures is an inspirational, Oscar-nominated film based on the true story of African-American women whose work in mathematics, technology, engineering, and science was critical to the success of the American space program. It tells a story of intellectual achievement of brilliant people who fought for their continuing education and work opportunities, and of different lessons we can all learn about working together, uplifting each other, and breaking down barriers to each other’s successes. It’s also a fun, feel-good, PG-rated movie already loved by some kids and staff at our school, and we can’t wait to share it!” 

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