How many women scientists can you name? What types of science do they study?
How do you think Vera C. Rubin's career would have been different if she had made her astronomical discoveries today? How would it have been the same?
According to the article, women and minority populations remain underrepresented in astronomy and physics. What do you think are the main reasons behind this? How do you think women and minorities can overcome these obstacles?
Identify a female scientist who has made amazing discoveries. Learn about her career. If you could rename one facility, piece of equipment, theory or anything else associated with her work, what would it be? Why?
- Prior to conducting this activity, gather a variety of children's books written about famous people to share with the class. Include examples of board books, picture books, early readers and chapter books. If necessary, ask your school librarian for help in selecting titles.
- Invite students to examine the books in small groups. Then, as a class, discuss the difference between the various types of children's books. If you like, have students conduct research online to identify publisher guidelines for writing each type of book. Or, after students thoroughly examine the books, have them create a list of guidelines of their own. Either way, be sure to identify at minimum specifications for word count, page count, photos or illustrations, special features and sidebars.
- Next, have students brainstorm a list of famous female scientists. If you wish, give students time to conduct research to add more names to the list.
- Divide the class into pairs or small groups. Instruct students to select one female scientist from the list and the type of children's book they would like to write. Instruct them to conduct research to learn about that person's life. Then give them time to write and illustrate their books.
CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:
In honor of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, the Smithsonian Institution Archives (SIA) is pleased to present a sampling of images documenting women scientists and engineers from around the world.
In this lesson from the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, elementary students are introduced to the idea of an animation flip book in order to understand how animations were made in the “old days.” Students will demonstrate knowledge of sequential motion of forces by illustrating a “bouncing ball” that will begin on the left side of the book, move to the right side and return to the side where it began.
From the time the airplane first took to the air, women have played an important role in shaping the aerospace industry. Invite students to watch this NASA STEM in 30 video to hear from Anousheh Ansari, the first female private space explorer, to take a look at the contributions of early women aviators, female astronauts and other pioneering women.
Explore the stories of women scientists who changed the world, but were written out of history, in this special report from Smithsonian magazine.
The resources in this Smithsonian magazine article, compiled by the education teams across the Smithsonian Institution, feature lessons, activities, exhibitions, videos and tools that can be used to teach students about women’s history in America.
Researchers found that on average, first-time male lead investigators were awarded $41,000 more than their female counterparts. Read this Smithsonian magazine article to learn all about it.