This post originally appeared on the blog Carly and Adam.
Can women be computer programmers, NASA scientists, Supreme Court justices, pilots, leaders, and innovators in our world? Ada Lovelace, Margaret Hamilton, Amelia Earhart, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Grace Hopper, and many others have proven the answer to be “YES!”
As teachers, we get to shape how future men and women work together as innovators and entrepreneurs. It’s why we celebrate influential women throughout history who have paved the way for our children and students in the areas of science, justice, technology, aviation, space exploration, and more.
This month, don’t just teach about women’s history. Invite students into a story with STEM!
Build a lunar lander to help Apollo astronauts land on the moon with Margaret Hamilton. Write and decipher binary code with Grace Hopper. Engineer a plane to fly around the world with Amelia Earhart. Create a code with the original code maker, Ada Lovelace. Engineer the Scales of Justice with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The following are our top 5 STEM read alouds and activities to engage students in Women’s History Month.
1.) Margaret and the Moon
Margaret Hamilton liked to come up with creative solutions to help solve problems. At that time, people didn’t know much about computers. Margaret led the way by becoming a pioneer in the computer programing field. She even came up with the name software engineer to describe her job, since the career was so new that it didn’t have a name.
Margaret and the Moon by Dean Robbins, shares the story of how Margaret’s code saved the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. Celebrate Margaret this month by sharing this engaging read-aloud with students and invite them into the story by creating and testing their own lunar landers.
2.) Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code
Grace Hopper was a computer programmer for the Navy. She was assigned to write programs for some of the very first computers. A program gives instructions to computers.
Early computers didn’t understand letters or words. The computers followed instructions from programs that were written in binary code, which only uses the digits 1 and 0.
Grace created a program that allowed people to use words to tell the computer what to do. Her invention allowed for anyone to be able to use computers, not just scientists and engineers.
Celebrate Grace this month by sharing this engaging read aloud with students and invite them into the story by writing and deciphering words using binary code.
3.) I am Amelia Earhart
Amelia Earhart was an American aviation (flight) pioneer and author. She made many important contributions to flight. She is known for being the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
Amelia Earhart once said, “Never interrupt someone doing something you said couldn’t be done.” She truly showed that you shouldn’t underestimate anyone based on gender. Celebrate Amelia Earhart this month by engaging students with her history and invite them into the story by building and testing their own airplanes.
4.) Who Says Women Can’t Be Computer Programmers and Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine
Who Says Women Can’t Be Computer Programmers and Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine tell the story of how Ada Lovelace invented programming. She wrote the first program that worked with the Analytical Engine, an invention of Charles Babbage that performed complex mathematics.
Celebrate Ada Lovelace this month by sharing her story with students and invite them into the story by having them complete an unplugged coding challenge.
5.) I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the second female to become a Supreme Court Justice. She used her position as a lawyer and as a Supreme Court justice to fight for equality. She believed that no one should be treated differently because of their race, gender, or beliefs.
Teach students about Ruth Bader Ginsburg this month and invite them into her story by having them build the scales of justice. Have students practice balancing their scales using classroom objects and pennies or counters.
This month, teach students that it is possible to accomplish your dreams regardless of your race or gender. Engage students by bringing them into the story with engaging read alouds and STEM. All 5 of these Women’s History Read Aloud STEM activities are bundled at a discount and available in our TpT store.
For more STEM ideas, inspiration, and collaboration with other STEM teachers be sure to join our FREE Facebook group Elementary STEM Teachers Club!
Carly and Adam are a husband and wife team. Carly has a degree in Elementary Education and has taught second, third, and sixth grade. Adam has a degree in business management and has worked as Director of Children’s Ministry at their local church. Adam and Carly have been married since 2010. They have a 2 year old daughter and a 6 month old son. To stay connected with Carly and Adam’s teaching tips and classroom freebies be sure to follow them on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Teachers Pay Teachers, and the Carly and Adam blog!