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8 Great Classroom Resources For Black History Month

February 16, 2017


Cool math-minded activities and inspiring stories to share with students


Get your students in the math mindset and inspire the next generation of innovators and leaders this month.  Share and try out the below resources and activities to help educate students about African American mathematicians and scientists who have and continue to break barriers, make strides in STEM, and change the world. 

1. Bringing Black History Month to STEM Classrooms

Get the scoop: Here’s a comprehensive article from Education Week Teacher on the importance of providing inspiring role models for African-American students, and other minorities, who are sorely under-represented in STEM fields. The piece includes some great resources for learning about black scientists, mathematicians and engineers throughout history.

Extra! Extra! Check out this interesting lesson plan on bioethics that uses the book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” Ms. Lacks’ cell were harvested after her death, without her family’s consent or knowledge, and have been used in the development of many medical advancements.

2. Timeline of Black Women in Mathematics

Get the scoop: Who are the first 20 African-American women to earn a PhD in Mathematics and what are their accomplishments? Find out here!  

Extra! Extra! Read all about dozens of African-American women in mathematics who are currently making news in this glossary of bios.

3. African-American Firsts in Science and Medicine

Get the scoop: Biography.com has put together a great collection of photos and bio, as well as video interviews. Print out posters to decorate your classroom with these historic black men and women who pioneered various fields of science and medicine.

Extra! Extra! Check out this video interview with author Octavia E. Butler, a science fiction writer who broke boundaries for African-American women in literature.

4. Activity: Beat the Motion Sensor

Get the scoop: Young architects-in-the-making will take a shine to this classroom activity inspired by African-American inventor Clarence L. Elders. His energy-conserving motion detectors are found in most modern offices and schools. This is a Black History Month lesson for grades 7-9.

Extra! Extra! Read all about these hands-on STEM activities for Black History Month on the Engineering, Go for it! website.  

5. Black Inventors Online Museum

Get the scoop: Visiting this website is like going on a class field trip without leaving the room! You’ll find photos and information about a broad collection of black inventors:
Lewis Latimer invented a better light bulb, Fred Jones developed a refrigeration system for trucks, and Madam C.J. Walker who created a black hair products empire—just to name a few.

Extra! Extra! Check out the top ten black inventors, all of whom used STEM skills!

6. African-American Pioneer Aviators

Get the scoop: The Smithsonian has put together a variety of lesson plans for Black History Month. In this lesson, students examine photographs and biographies to learn about the history of African Americans in the field of aviation, and portray these adventurers through drawing, painting, or writing. Separate lessons for grades K–2, 3–5, and 6–8. Students portray the aviators in drawing, painting, or writing for integrated Black History Month curriculum.

Extra! Extra! The Smithsonian’s IdeaLabs gives teachers more great lesson plans to explore the world we live in—and beyond—using STEM concepts.   

7. Fact Monster

Get the scoop: Busy teachers will love this one-stop resource for Black History Month activities. You’ll find quizzes, timelines, crosswords puzzles, statistics and special features all focused on Black History Month. There’s plenty for your STEM curriculum and other lesson plans.

Extra! Extra! Check out this Black History Month quiz that’s chockfull of STEM heroes!

8. Kid Activities

Get the scoop: Great Black History Month ideas and resources for grades K-5. Students can make peanut butter to celebrate George Washington Carver’s life, write a letter to a historic figure, or a create a bulletin board collage of photos of black inventors, mathematicians and scientists. Dozens of ideas for Black History Month!

Extra! Extra! Encourage your students to find out more about African-American heroes—Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Harriett Tubman and more—with this book list for grades K-5.

Do you have more math activities for Black History Month? Share them below.


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