In a few words, how did the team of African American women help NASA succeed in space exploration?
"Students will review key thematic concepts from chapters 18 and 19 in the novel, Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly, and apply informational text reading strategies to deepen understanding."
Katherine Johnson and the other women at NASA show the power of determination and hard work, despite facing discrimination. Mary Jackson's determination leads her to become the first black female engineer at NASA. Dorothy Vaughan's determination leads her to become NASA's first black supervisor.
The Power of Determination: Hidden Figures Chapters 18-19
The Glass Ceiling: a metaphor used to represent an invisible barrier that keeps a given demographic (typically applied to minorities and women) from rising beyond a certain level in a hierarchy. Space Race: a mid-20th century competition between the Soviet Union and the United States to explore outer space. Computer Programming: the process of writing instructions that can be executed by a computer to perform specific tasks.
In Chapter 18 of Hidden Figures, a group of black women engineers from Langley, Virginia, were invited to the White House to be honored for their contributions to the space program. In Chapter 19, the women of Langley were invited to watch their colleague, Katherine Johnson, receive a special award from President Kennedy. The women of Langley were the first black women to be honored in the White House for their contributions to the space program.
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Work together in pairs: What is the significance of the fact that the West Computing Group was sent to Langley to work on the Mercury project in Chapters 18 and 19 of Hidden Figures?
What challenges did Katherine face as a woman and as an African American in the workplace during the 1960s in the United States, as described in Chapters 18 and 19 of Hidden Figures?
Work together in pairs: What did the engineers at Langley do to support the success of the Space Task Group?
Brain break: Draw a unicorn with tree trunks for legs standing amidst a giant salad with dressing pouring around it.
What was the name of the organization that Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson and Katherine Johnson worked in?
- North Area Computing
- East Area Computing
- West Area Computing
What was the significance of Katherine Johnson's calculation for John Glenn's orbit?
- It paved the way for future space exploration
- It confirmed that a human could survive space travel
- It proved that space travel was impossible
Who did Katherine Johnson work with closely on John Glenn’s mission?
- Paul Stafford
- Al Harrison
- Vivian Mitchell
What did Mary Jackson have to do to become NASA's first black female engineer?
- Attend segregated classes at an all-white school to earn her credentials
- Start her own engineering firm
- Take additional courses online after work hours
What did Dorothy Vaughan do when she learned that electronic computers were going to replace human computers?
- She taught herself and her colleagues FORTRAN programming language so they could operate the IBM machines.
- She started looking for a new job outside of NASA.
The space program brought a lot of attention to Hampton, Virginia. Unfortunately, even as the engineers and mathematicians at Langley embraced the future, the state seemed stuck in the past, unwilling to let go of its segregationist policies. What was the embarrassing reputation the state of Virginia earned? (p. 146)
Since the governor refused to allow integration of schools, draw a picture of what 13,000 students did as a result. (p. 146)
A year later in 1959, Virginia's government finally reopened most of the schools in the state. Officials of Dorothy Vaughan's former high school and other schools decided to do what?
- Enhance the school with a remodel and tech upgrades.
- Consolidate the white and black schools to get one better school.
- Stopped giving money to the school system rather than integrate.
Use 3 different adjectives to describe the Project Mercury aircraft. (p. 148)
While the astronauts were preparing for their mission, how was Katherine Goble preparing? (p. 149-150)
The Space Task Group decided that the best way to send the first person into space was with...?
- simple ballistic flight
- aerodynamic lift
- propulsive thrust
What was the precise journey of the spacecraft that Katherine had to plan? (p. 151)
22. Personalised Feedback
Why did Katherine's boss grudgingly let her finish the 34 page research paper of remarkably complex equations, charts, and tables of calculations? (p. 152-153)
Mary Jackson worked on making supersonic airplanes faster and more efficient. How did she use her knowledge to help her son? (p. 153-157)
Levi won the Hampton Roads area's soap box derby which allowed the African-American community to share in Levi's victory. Mary believed in, "Achievement through hard work, social progress through science..."
The best thing about breaking a barrier was that it would never have to be broken again. Mary developed relationships with the white women she worked with. Their appearance on stage together made a powerful statement about the possibilities of the engineering field for black girls.
Mary had earned her engineering title through hard work, talent, and drive, but she knew she owed a debt of gratitude to those women who had led the way. Each woman who had come before had cracked the hole in the wall a little wider, allowing the next talent to come through. Now Mary wanted to make room for the women coming behind her.