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Hidden Figures

Grounded in the empowerment of women in historical and contemporary STEM leadership, the Hidden Figures curriculum guide highlights the determination of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, three black women known as “human computers” who were employed by NASA in Langley, Virginia. These women transcended the discriminatory biases of colleagues and community members to achieve their goals and become leaders in the fields of mathematics and engineering. Their lives model vital lessons in confidence, structural equity and academic excellence that apply to all students to take flight with today.

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Curriculum Guide

Lesson 1: Bitter Rivals: The Cold War at Mid-Century (Social Studies)
Lesson 2: Sputnik and the Origins of the Space Race (Social Studies, Science)
Lesson 3: Moving to the Front of the Bus: Segregation and the Civil Rights Movement (Social Studies)
Lesson 4: The Women of ‘West Computing’: A Viewer-Response Approach (Language Arts, Social Studies)
Lesson 5: The Math of Space Travel: Orbits and Conic Sections (Geometry)
Lesson 6:Computers Come of Age (Physics, Programming)
Lesson 7: Shooting Scripts and Active Viewing (Film Literacy)
Lesson 8: The Women of Science (Science, History, Career Readiness)

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Discussion Guide

The Numbers Don’t Lie
Introduction to Hidden Figures
Exploring the Film: Hidden Figures
The Jim Crow South
‘Eyes on the Prize’: The Civil Rights Movement in the ’50s and ’60s
Woman’s Place…
The Women of West Computing
The Cold War and the Space Race
Looking at the Future: Career Choices in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)
Additional Reading and Resources

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