Hidden Figures Worksheet Movie Summary: Hidden Figures tells the incredible untold story of brilliant African-American women working at NASA who served as the brains behind the launch into orbit of astronaut John Glenn, a stunning achievement that turned around the Space Race. The... (more details for Hidden Figures*)


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2019-03-27 Grade: 9-10


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Hidden Figures Worksheet

The Hidden Figures Worksheet offered at the links above follow the film about a 1961 mathematician Katherine Goble who works as a human computer in the West Area Computers division of the Langley Research Center. Alongside her colleagues, aspiring engineer Mary Jackson and their unofficial acting-supervisor Dorothy Vaughan which are all African American women. Students view that the unit is segregated by race and sex. A stark difference to todays workplace.

The movie goes on to follow the successful Soviet launch of Yuri Gagarin which adds pressure to send American astronauts into space. The supervisor assigns Katherine to assist Al Harrison's Space Task Group, given her skills in analytic geometry. Hidden figures worksheet focuses on how she becomes the first black woman on the team and how her new colleagues are initially dismissive and demeaning, especially head engineer.

As the film progresses, Mary receives encouragement from her team leader, to apply for an official NASA engineer position. When she submits her application she is told by Mitchell that despite her mathematics and physical science degree she will never be an engineer at NASA. The hidden figures worksheet questions why that was the case.

Later on when Harrison invites his subordinates to solve a complex mathematical equation, Katherine develops the solution, leaving him impressed. The Mercury 7 astronauts visit Langley and astronaut John Glenn is cordial to the West Area Computers. Harrison is enraged when he finds out that Katherine is forced to walk a half-mile to another building to use the colored people's bathroom.

Further on within the hidden figures worksheet, students determine what happens when Dorothy learns of the impending installation of an IBM 7090 electronic computer that could replace human computers. They also see as the final arrangements for John Glenn's launch are made, Katherine is reassigned back to West Area Computers. Harrison told her that they no longer need computers in their department and it's beyond his decision

As the day of the launch nears, discrepancies arise in the IBM 7090 calculations for the capsule's landing coordinates, and Astronaut Glenn requests that Katherine be called in to check them. She quickly does so, only to have the door slammed in her face after delivering the results to the control room. Students end the film with an epilogue that reveals that Katherine calculated the trajectories for the Apollo 11 and Space Shuttle missions.