International Day of Women and Girls in Science Lesson Plan

Share the importance of the contributions of women in science with your students. Bring classrooms to life with MY HERO's Multimedia Resources and Lesson Plan for Teachers. Includes discussion guide and learning outcomes.

International Day of Women and Girls in Science
Credit: MY HERO

Get Inspired by Films Celebrating Women in Science 

Students watch the following three films and consider the discussion questions.

UNLADYLIKE2020: Ynes Mexia

A late bloomer, botanist Ynes Mexia enrolled in college at the age of 51. She led expeditions, including in the Amazon rainforest, discovering 500 new species of plants.

Secrets of the Universe Profile - DR. SANTONA TULI

Stephen Low

This excerpt from: The Secrets of the Universe, features Dr. Santona Ruli a student of nuclear physics shares her involvement with CERN. 

A Woman's Place is in the Lab

Produced by:Christine Dennis

Learn about Dr. Gail Brown, PhD., a trailblazer for women in science and a renowned research physicist at the Air Force Research Laboratory.

Katherine Johnson: The Human Computer

Jasmine Blossom Martoglio | Batchelor Middle School
This is a documentary about Katherine Johnson and why she is an American hero.

Breaking Boundaries in Science VR

Breaking Boundaries is an interactive celebration of history’s most influential women scientists.

Stories Celebrating Women Scientists

Stories for students to read before considering the discussion questions.

There are stories that include an audio link allowing students to listen as they read along. 

Marine Biologist and Environmentalist Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson

By: Wendy Jewell

Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, was the mother of the environmental movement. Listen and Read Along Story

Rachel Carson by Roberty Shetterly, AWTT.org

By: Robert Shetterly
Often referred to as "The Mother of the Environmental Movement," Carson worked hard to raise awareness of the environmental and health risks caused by chemicals

Women and Girls in Science: Hero Stories

Mae Jemison

By: Christian Walsh

Mae Jemison dreamed of going to space since childhood and was the first black woman to travel in space when she served as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

Dilfuza Egamberdiyeva

By: Wendy Jewell

Dilfuza Egamberdiyeva cares for the Earth's soil, researching ways to produce microbes to control plant diseases.

Regina G. Barber, Ph.D., ‘Chin@-Chicana’ Scientist Hero

By: Deborah Neff, MY HERO Staff writer

How One Environmentalist Changed Our World: Jane Goodall

By: Saba Azimipour

Dr. Jane Goodall, named a UN Messenger of Peace, has been studying wild chimpanzees for over half a decade.

Sylvia Earle

By: Edward Ortiz

Sylvia Earle is changing the face of marine biology.

Hedy Lamarr

By: Paul from San Diego

Although known for her acting, Hedy Lamarr was a respected inventor whose selflessness and hard work made her a hero during WW2.

Valentina, First woman in space by MaRiana from US

By: Mariana
Valentina, First woman in space celebrated by Mariana

Peggy Whitson

By: Alex Gaytan
Peggy Whitson was the first female chief of NASA’s astronaut corps. (2/9/1960)



Chiaki Mukai

By: Claudia Herrera Hudson
Chiaki Mukai is the first Japanese woman in space and the first Japanese citizen to do two spaceflights.

Sally Kristen Ride

By: Amanda Botts
Sally Ride is an astronaut, physicist, and was the first American woman to travel into space.

Judith A. Resnik

By: Alyssa from Ohio
Judith A. Resnik inspired others with her determination to become a scientist and an astronaut.

Middle School Student Wrote about Her Sister who has a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering. 

Lindsey Brinton

By: Sydney Roscoe

A middle school student shares her science hero: her sister, who has a PhD in Biomedical Engineering.

Learn about the Collaboration between Elizabeth Lee Hazen and Rachel Fuller Brown Through These Two Stories 

Elizabeth Lee Hazen

By: Elise from Cincinnati

One of the most famous collaborations in the history of American medical science was between two women: Elizabeth Lee Hazen and Rachel Fuller Brown.

Rachel Fuller Brown

By: Ashley from USA

Rachel Fuller Brown and Elizabeth Lee Hazen co-developed an anti-fungal antibiotic. 

Stories with Text and Audio:

Great for ESL Students and Emerging Readers

Andrea Mia Ghez

By: Jennifer Lauren Lee

Andrea Mia Ghez is an astrophysicist best known for her discoveries about the black hole at the center of our galaxy.

Katherine Johnson

By: Kyra from Ankara, Turkey

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.

Rosalind Elsie Franklin

By: Tiffany from St. Clair

Rosalind Franklin's work was central to the understanding of the molecular structures of DNA. 

Mae Jemison

By: Christian Walsh
Mae Jemison dreamed of going to space since childhood.

Marie M. Daly

By: Staff
Marie Maynard Daly was the first Black American woman to earn a PhD. in chemistry

Dr. France Cordova

By: Barbara Field

Dr. France Cordova is a renowned astrophysicist who has broken gender and cultural barriers.

Gertrude B. Elion

By: Susannah Abbey

Gertrude B. Elion developed the AIDS drug, AZT.

Fabiola Gianotti

By: Wendy Jewell from The MY HERO Project

Fabiola Gianotti is an Italian particle physicist.

Gwynne Rowley Shotwell

By: Torrey Levin-Russell
Gwynne Rowley Shotwell is the president of SpaceX, the company that made the Dragon space craft.

Tania Ruiz

By: Star Lawrence<br> <h5>Originally published on the <b>Minority Scientists Net...
Tania Ruiz is an astrophysicist committed to science education and helping women reach their goals.

Nancy Caruso

By: Anabelle Vo
Nancy Caruso is a marine biologist who helped bring kelp forests back to the California coast.

Discussion Questions

1. What character traits did these women demonstrate that allowed them to break through the gender barrier that existed in their chosen field of science?

2. What challenges did these women face and how did they overcome them?

3. What contributions to scientific discovery have been credited to these science heroes? 

4. Why is it important to ensure full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls? 



Students can share their Hero Essays, Films and Art through our Create Program

Outstanding essays submitted to MY HERO will be considered for a certificate/t-shirt prize or be featured on the Story Homepage.

Submit your artwork to be entered in the MY HERO art contest or to be exhibited on our Gallery Homepage.

Students can submit their films for free with a waiver to the MY HERO International Film Festival.



Laura Nietzer

The International Day of Women and Girls in Science lesson plan was curated by MY HERO Education Outreach Director Laura Nietzer.

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International Day of Women and Girls in Science
Credit: UN

Organizer created on 1/20/2020 12:33:45 PM by Laura Nietzer

Last edited 1/8/2024 4:22:08 PM by Laura Nietzer