Teaching the movie “Hidden Figures”


The film Hidden Figures reveals the untold true story of a team of African-American women mathematicians, or “human computers” who helped the success of the Apollo Moon landings program in the 1960s. This is about three African-American women working in segregated NASA in 1961, 62 and 63.”

HIDDEN FIGURES is the incredible untold story of Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe)—brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big. http://www.foxmovies.com/movies/hidden-figures

Lesson plan

Before watching the movie

  1. Watch the trailer below and then decide on 2 of the characters from the movie that you want to know more about before watching the movie
  2. Research; astronaut John Glenn asks our heroines what they do for NASA. Who is John Glenn and what is he famous for.
  3. Write your findings on your blog

After watching the movie

  1. Write about the three women in the movie and what happened to them after the period described in the movie. See more info on Katherine G. Johnson below. Find more sources here.
  2. Watch the movie below; real people behind NASA’s hidden figures to get more information for your article
  3. Write your blog post where you include the material you have and answer the following questions; what surprised me the most, what I didn’t know before I saw the movie, and my recommendations for using this movie in class regarding subjects it applies to.

In this MAKERS interview, Katherine G. Johnson talks about her early affinity for mathematics, a college professor who noticed her gift and pushed her to pursue advanced math courses and how she eventually became a NASA mathematician who calculated, among many other computations, the trajectory for the space flight of Alan Shepard, the first American in space; John Glenn, the first American to orbit earth; and Apollo 11, the first human mission to the moon. GroundbreakersScience & Tech

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