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Women’s History Month Teaching Resources

13 Awesome Lesson Plan Ideas to Honor Women in STEM

Since Hypatia made her mark in ancient Alexandria, women have been changing the world with their contributions in mathematics. Emmy Noether, born in 1882 in Germany, overcame tremendous obstacles to become, as Albert Einstein said, “the most significant creative mathematical genius thus far produced since the higher education of women began.” In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting our top 13 lesson plan resources that shine a light on women in STEM pioneers.

1. Science NetLinks Women’s History Collection

A one-stop collection of videos, booklets, and websites you can use for lessons plans that honor women pioneers in STEM disciplines throughout history and today. We also like the focus on young women who are doing amazing work in science today.  An extra gold star for the filtering feature that allows for easily sorting the search results by grade level.

Astonauts Sally Ride & Kathryn Sullivan in space
Astronauts Sally Ride and Kathryn Sullivan Source: NASA

2. PBS Newshour Extra: 20th Century Women in STEM

This lesson plan addresses the question: Why are women still underrepresented is science, technology, engineering and mathematics? Downloadable handouts engage students in reading about and discussing how outstanding women in STEM fields overcame obstacles throughout history, and what obstacles still need to be addressed.

3. National Women’s History Project

STEM Gold Star: The motto of this project is: “Our history is our strength!” We couldn’t agree more. While this web site isn’t specifically about women in STEM, there’s a great women in math and science quiz.

4. Chronological Index of Women Mathematicians The most complete list of women mathematicians throughout history who changed how we see the world.

5. Untold Stories of Women in Science and Technology

The White House offers interviews with women in STEM in the current administration who talk about their personal women in STEM heroes throughout history. For example, White House Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith tells the story of Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, a pioneer in developing computer programming language. There’s even a place for students to add their own stories of their STEM heroes!

Grace Hopper
Grace Hopper Source: White House

6. Ten Historic Female Scientists You Should Know

Smithsonian Magazine tells the stories of ten unsung heroes in science history—before Marie Curie won the Nobel Prize in 1903. Emilie du Chatelet (1706-1749) was a mathematician who had an affair with the philosopher Voltaire and collaborated with him on scientific projects in her home laboratory.

Emilie du Chatelet
Emilie du Chatelet. Source: Wikipedia

Women’s History Month offers a great opportunity for students to challenge gender inequalities, particularly the gender gap in STEM career fields.

7. CNN Women Pioneers in STEM

Here’s an interesting gallery of photos and bios of women in STEM today, paired with women in history who laid the groundwork for them to succeed. For example, Shafi Goldwasser, one of the world’s leading cryptologists, is paired with Ada Lovelace, who was the world’s first computer programmer back in the 1850s.

8. 50 Most Important Women in Science

Discover magazine amassed an amazing alphabetical list of the 50 Most Important Women in Science — from Ruzena Bajcsy, who works with robotics and computer sensors that monitor the environment, to Maria Zuber, who uses data from spacecrafts to map planetary surfaces. This is a mind-boggling and inspiring collection of women in STEM over the past century.

9.  Smithsonian Women Scientists  

This is an adventurous and inspiring group of today’s STEM superstars who are making history. Dr. Maria Banks studies glaciers in Antarctica and on Mars, Dr. Carole Baldwin is a Marine Biologist who has discovered more than two-dozen new species of fish. Learn more about dozens of fascinating women explorers.

10. Women’s History Calendar and Timelines

Find out what happened today in women’s history, in the U.S. and around the world. Extra gold star for the Women in Aviation Timeline and Women in Space Timeline!

Amelia Earhart.
Amelia Earhart. Source: Via Getty Images

11. Smithsonian Magazine Women in Science

Read about some of today’s groundbreaking women in STEM careers. Students will love this interview with Jane McGonigal, a young computer scientist who designs “alternate reality game,” on how computer games can make you smarter!

Jane McGonigal
Jane McGonigal. Source: Jane McGonigal

12. Women of the Century WebQuest

Education World challenges students to make use of the school library and online resources to create an Encyclopedia of Notable Women in STEM and other fields. Complete teacher resources for this Women in History month lesson plan are online.

13. NASA Women of STEM

Inspiring women astronauts, scientists, engineers, and other space pioneers in recent history. They’re out of this world!

Women of Nasa
The Women of NASA Source: NASA

Have you seen our Amazing Female Mathematicians Infographic.

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