Blog Post

Reflections on Black History Month

 

                                 Counting on Katherine               Hidden Figures

February might be over now, but I wanted to take a minute to pause and think about the importance of celebrating Black History in computer science throughout the year, in addition to Black History Month. Below are some resources to dive deeper:

Colors of STEM strives to “give young girls of all colors under the rainbow role models in STEM by telling the colorful and inspiring stories of STEM women worldwide.” The Colorful Stories feature on their website highlights a diverse mix of female role models and their careers in STEM.

The Root article “The 10: These Black Women in Computer Science Are Changing the Face of Tech” profiles 10 inspiring Black women at the top of their field and the path they took to get there. These are great vignettes to share with students.

This infographic on Black CS pioneers could be posted on a course page, classroom wall, or school hallway.

Tynker has a special project for Black History Month where students can add visual effects and tell a story about a historic Black figure in computer science.

 

Tynker
Image source: https://www.tynker.com/blog/articles/ideas-and-tips/programming-projects-for-kids/celebrate-black-history-with-code/

 

The critical work of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden on the Apollo 13 mission is featured in children’s books including Hidden Figures and Counting on Katherine. The feature film (rated PG) is great for older students.

There’s more to learn about the current conversations around computer science in communities of color by checking out a great blog post by Donald Saint-Germain, one of the CS for All Teachers community ambassadors.

In what ways did you engage your students during Black History Month?

 
Jenn Vermillion is the Director of Innovative Learning at St. Catherine’s School, an independent school for girls age 3 through grade 12 in Richmond, VA. She teaches an introduction to computer science course for students in grades 9-12 and an 8th grade Creative Technologies course. She also coaches a 4th grade Robotics team and coordinates school-wide professional development. Jenn welcomes your comments and questions at jvermillion@st.catherines.org.