Black History Month Read Alouds and STEM
What are you teaching your students during the month of February?
Don’t just teach, invite students into a story this month with STEM!
Create a space capsule to bring Apollo astronauts back to earth safely with Katherine Johnson, build an air powered rocket shuttle to launch Mae Jemison into space, invent something new with Lonnie Johnson, learn the power of words with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and code astronauts to the moon with the Hidden Figures!
The following are our top 5 STEM read alouds and activities to engage students in Black History Month.
1.) Mae Among the Stars
Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed follows the story of Mae Jemison, the first African American woman in space. This inspiring story perfectly reinforces the theme that with hard work and an optimistic outlook you can accomplish your dreams.
Bring STEM into this lesson by having students create and test wind powered rocket ships.
2.) Hidden Figures
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly is the story four African American women and the important roles they played at NASA during the Space Race. One of the women, Dorothy Vaughan, learned how to code the first computer at NASA.
Teach your students the basics of computer programming with an unplugged STEM activity. Challenge students to write a code to get the astronaut to the moon.
3. Counting on Katherine
Counting on Kathrine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13 by Helaine Becker follows the story of Katherine Johnson, a mathematician at NASA during the Space Race. During her time at NASA Katherine had many great accomplishments, but one of her most important contributions was coming up with the math to get the Apollo 13 space capsule back to Earth safely.
Invite students to use their creativity and problem solving skills with a STEM challenge to design and build a space capsule that will have the slowest landing.
Whoosh! by Chris Barton is the story of Lonnie Johnson, a famous African American inventor. Johnson holds over 100 patents and pending patents for his many inventions. The most famous of his inventions is the Super Soaker.
Engage students in problem solving with this read-aloud by having them design their own invention that solves a real-world problem.
5.) Martin’s Big Words
Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport, is the story of Martin Luther King Jr. and his message of peace and unity for all people. The read-aloud does a great job of not watering down Martin’s life or message while making it understandable for even the youngest learners.
Extend the lesson with a STEM challenge by having students fit one of Martin’s big words on a piece of graph paper.
Seamlessly integrate hands-on STEM learning with these read-alouds using our Black History Month Read Aloud STEM Bundle. This resource includes all five read-aloud STEM activities bundled at a discount along with detailed teacher lesson plans and a student STEM journal.
For more STEM ideas, inspiration, and collaboration with other STEM teachers be sure to join our FREE Facebook group Elementary STEM Teachers Club!
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