September 10, 2018
Counting on Catherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13
by Helaine Becker
Blurb: From Katherine‘s early beginnings as a gifted student to her heroic accomplishments as a prominent mathematician at NASA, this is the story of an American icon who not only calculated the course of moon landings but, in turn, saved lives.
Want to make a case about precise computing? Read an excerpt of this book to your students about the importance of Katherine’s math being precise or people would die in space!
This harrowing biography of how Katherine Johnson, an unsung hero, helped the Americans in the Space Race shows just how important minorities were to the effort.
My favorite quote, from Katherine Johnson herself, comes from the back papers: “Despite her many achievements, Katherine never liked to take any credit. Her reason? ‘Because we always work as a team,’ she says. ‘ it was never just one person.'”
This book is for:
- space enthusiasts
- biographies highlighting otherwise unsung people of history
- February — Black History month
- Women’s History month
- Context Clues: use the page about “all of the computers were women” to have students figure out what the author means by “computers” (people, not machines)
- goal setting
- reaching one’s potential, despite setbacks
Check it out at your local library! ISBN 9781250137524
October 25, 2017
by Marc Scott
Have fun suing Scratch and Python
This nonfiction book walks students step-by-step through creating a Scratch account and building code in Scratch. The second half of the book does the same for Python, another coding platform.
Students who just want to expand their knowledge in Scratch, or to learn a new programming language, Python, will find detailed how-to instructions for both!
Other Programming Languages (found in the Find Out More section)
Touch Develop (for tablets or mobile devices) — build apps
September 27, 2017
by Laurie Wallmark
illustrated by Katy Wu
Grace was a curious girl, exploring how clocks work by taking them apart and putting them back together again. That curiosity and tensity continued into college where she took courses in physics and math while other women were taking courses called “Husbands and Wives” and “Motherhood.” She continued to persevere until she convinced the Navy to enlist her even though she didn’t meet the age and weight requirements at the time. Good thing they did, too! Grace went on to write computer code that no one else had done, and fix problems that no one could seem to solve.
BUG! This term is known in the computer science world for a mistake in the program’s code. In this book, the author shows how Grace Hopper and her colleagues actually found a bug inside their computer which cause a switch to malfunction. Even since then, computer glitches have been called bugs!
At one point in the book Grace needs to pass Latin (she had a failing grade) in order to go to college. Briefly, this book shows the hard work she does in order to accomplish something she didn’t like to get to her dream of going to college.
Check out this PDF for some discussion questions and extension activities to do with this book.
*Timeline activity in the PDF link above.