This month we are celebrating diversity in STEM with several books that highlight the accomplishments of mathematicians, scientists, inventors, and more, all with diverse backgrounds. These books will help students learn more about these trailblazing STEM pioneers, their lives, and their contributions to science. They are a great starting point for different activities and discussions in the classroom. Here are a few to try:
Changing the Equation: 50+ U.S. Black Women in STEM by Tonya Bolden
In this book, Bolden examines the lives of trailblazing Black female computer scientists, inventors, mathematicians, and more to inspire young readers.
What Color Is My World? The Lost History of African-American Inventors by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with Raymond Obstfeld, illustrated by Ben Boos and A.G. Ford
Discover African-American inventors with basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Classroom activity: Have students choose a Black pioneer in STEM who they would like to learn more about and research. Then, create a living museum in the classroom. Students can dress up and present to the class what they have learned about their subject from their research.
The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer
An inspiring story about the power of books and STEM-thinking. A fourteen-year old Malawi boy who cannot attend school educates himself and learns how to build a windmill to help his village.
Classroom activity: Lead a classroom discussion about windmills. Ask students to describe a windmill and brainstorm what they are used for and how they work. Have students design and build their own windmill using common household materials such as craft sticks, glue, paper cups, string, straws, rubber bands, paper towel rolls, push pins, and more. Have students compare the finished windmills. Which design features worked the best? What design challenges did students face? How did they overcome these challenges? What changes would students make to their windmills based on what they have learned through the design process?
101 Black Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics by L.A. Amber
Young readers will be inspired by the women included in Amber’s book who paved the way for other women of color in STEM fields from the 1800s to today.
Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky
Take a peek into the lives of women who chose STEM for their life’s work, trailblazing through a field with few women.
Classroom activity: Have students work in pairs and choose a STEM pioneer. Each pair should research their chosen pioneer to learn about their lives and their work. Then, have the students create an interview with their subject. They can present this interview to the class with one student taking the role of interviewer and the other taking the role of the STEM subject.
Carla Mooney loves to explore the world around us and discover the details about how it works. An award-winning author of numerous nonfiction science books for kids and teens, she hopes to spark a healthy curiosity and love of science in today’s young people. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, three kids, and dog. When not writing, she can often be spotted at a hockey rink for one of her kids’ games. Find her at http://www.carlamooney.com, on Facebook @carlamooneyauthor, or on Twitter @carlawrites.