Hidden Figures and an Early Release from School

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The governor declared a state of emergency starting at noon today due to the snow expected at 8 pm. I love the South. Our superintendent encouraged us all to go home as soon as possible after the busses. I packed up my daughters, and we caught the 1 o’clock showing of the movie, Hidden Figures. I think I’ve found a movie about math I can show my 6th graders. (Besides, Donald in Mathemagicland, which makes an appearance in class the day of the state math test.)

Things that are sticking with me about this movie:

  1. She still the one typing up the reports.
  2. “Stop talking about it and do something.”
  3. I was amazed to see how close to the edge NASA was working. The didn’t have the answers until very close to the time they absolutely needed them. They didn’t have the mainframe installed – what? It made me think of minimally viable products and design thinking and how they were iterating on a large scale. Maybe all successful companies work close to the edge, and that’s what makes them successful (ground-breaking). Being afraid of the edge means not getting ahead.
  4. The forward thinking needed to be ready to move the whole computing department into programming was impressive.

Something my daughter mentioned not liking, the label of “computer.” Like the women weren’t even human. Much like the label of “colored.”

What an amazing set of examples we have with these three women. My class has been listening to the story of Nathaniel Bowditch, and his life story is inspiring, and I think ties into the struggles my students’ face, but I’m super excited to have these modern women in mathematics to refer to in my classroom. The image above is one we are going to revisit as we update our goal page each week. It is such an empowering image. We looked at it today as I mentioned the film during our number talk about 2017.