Hidden Figures STEM and Coding Activities

Hidden Figures STEM and Coding Activities

Are your finding time to teach social studies?

Finding time for social studies was a struggle for me when I was in the classroom. As a teacher in a testing grade, I felt the pressure to spend the majority of my instructional minutes on math and language arts topics.

It doesn’t have to be this way! Fortunately, I found a way to integrate social studies with my math and language arts lessons through STEM!

Teach about Black History Month and Women’s History Month with STEM activities that incorporate, reading, writing, math, and making!

HIDDEN FIGURES SPACE CAPSULE STEM ACTIVITY

Material List:

Divide students into groups of 2-3.

This challenge is a great activity to complete after reading Counting on Katherine by Helaine Becker. After reading the book, challenge students to design and build a model of the Apollo 13 space capsule.

The space capsule must be similar in shape to a cone without the point at the top. It must also include a way to slow down as it lands such as a parachute.

Give students 10 minutes to plan individually and then 10 minutes to plan as a team. Give students the materials listed above. Students will have 30 minutes to construct their space capsules. At the end of the time limit students will test their designs by standing on a chair and dropping their space capsules.

Have students time how long it takes for their space capsule to land. Be sure to make time for students to improve their designs and test again.

This activity is a great way to get students engaged in STEM and social studies! For more information, in depth teacher instructions, student handouts, a STEM journal, and student planning and reflection pages, view the full resource HERE.

HIDDEN FIGURES CODING ACTIVITY

Material List:

Divide students into groups of 2-3.

Before beginning the activity read Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly in order to help students develop some background knowledge. After reading, divide students into pairs. Explain to students that their challenge is to code a path for the astronaut to get to the moon.

Partner 1 will begin by placing the start and finish cards in opposite corners. Then they will place the two obstacle cards on the board. Finally, they will create a path using the rocket ships from start to finish going around the obstacles.

Next, partner 2 will write the code that will get the astronaut to the moon by drawing arrows (up, down, left, and right). When partner 2 is done partner 1 will verify that the code is correct. Then, the partners will switch roles.

Easily integrate STEM and social studies this month with this Hidden Figures Unplugged Coding Activity! For more information, in depth teacher instructions, student handouts, a STEM journal, and student planning and reflection pages, view the full resource HERE.

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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