Katherine Johnson, born August 26, 1918, is an African American mathematician who worked as an aerospace technologist for NASA and was the first woman in her division to have her name on a report. In 1962, astronaut John Glenn wouldn't begin his orbit around the moon without Johnson first checking all computer calculations by hand: "If she says they're good, then I'm ready to go."
Students watch the following film Katherine Johnson: The Human Computer and discuss why Katherine Johnson is an inspirational American hero.
Students read the following story about Katherine Johnson and consider the discussion questions.
This story is available in text and audio; great for ESL students.
Her story was hidden for decades: Katherine Johnson plotted multiple flight courses for NASA, including the Apollo 11 spacecraft, the first spaceship to reach the moon.
Katherine Johnson is an inspirational hero to these Del Norte High School students. Students read these featured essays and consider the discussion questions.
"Because of Johnson, I can now confidently do what I want with my life."
2. Students at Del Norte High School wrote about how Katherine Johnson has inspired them. Who inspires you? Share the story with MY HERO.
Students analyze this portrait of Katherine Johnson. Notice how the artist included images in the background and a quote.
Who is your science hero? Consider creating an original piece of art that represents your hero and submit your art to MY HERO.
Students will identify individuals who inspire them in their own lives. Students will develop critical thinking skills as they identify people who have overcome racial and gender barriers. Students are encouraged to create an original piece of art honoring their science hero.
My Hero suggested viewing: Trailer for Hidden Figures (2016).
"HIDDEN FIGURES is the untold story of Katherine G. 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."
The Katherine Johnson lesson plan was created by MY HERO Teacher and Learning Circle Director Laura Nietzer.
Learn about a New Hero Every Day of the Year: Use the MY HERO Calendar in the Classroom
Students can share their Hero Essays, Films and Art through our Create Program
Organizer created on 7/15/2019 2:10:43 PM by Laura Nietzer
Last edited 5/23/2022 2:18:41 PM by Laura Nietzer