African-American

Physicists Herman Branson, ca. 1960s

Students will learn about the historical context of the Civil Rights Movement and how it impacted the physics community by reading two contrasting assessments of the status of African Americans in physics in the 1960s.

Guide subjects: 
Grade level(s): 
9-12
Prep time: 
10-15 minutes
In-class time: 
55 minutes
Anthony Johnson in ultrafast laser lab

Students will research African American scientists who participated in Bell Labs’ Cooperative Research Fellowship Program, and those who worked at Bell Laboratories from the 1970s to the 1990s.

Guide subjects: 
Grade level(s): 
9-12
College
Prep time: 
15-20 minutes
In-class time: 
70-90 minutes
Edward Alexander Bouchet, ca. 1874

In this two-part lesson plan, students will learn about the debate between Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois over African-American education in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and about the life of Edward Bouchet, the first African-American to receive a Ph.D. in Physics in 1876.

Guide subjects: 
Grade level(s): 
9-12
Prep time: 
15-20 minutes
In-class time: 
70-75 minutes
James E. West, ASA President from 1998-1999.

Students will research the lives and work of some notable African American inventors, and then create an invention or patent of their own.

Guide subjects: 
Grade level(s): 
6-8
9-12
Prep time: 
15 minutes
In-class time: 
Two parts, 60-80 minutes each
Big Dipper

Students will learn about geographic and equatorial coordinate systems and how slaves on the Underground Railroad used the stars to navigate their way to freedom.

Guide subjects: 
Grade level(s): 
9-12
Prep time: 
15 minutes
In-class time: 
40-50 minutes
Big Dipper

Students will learn about the Underground Railroad and how African Americans escaping slavery used the stars to navigate to freedom.

Guide subjects: 
Grade level(s): 
6-8
Prep time: 
10 minutes
In-class time: 
45-50 minutes

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