Tuesday, February 27, 2018


Got your attention, didn't I?

I had a great lesson with my 1st and 2nd graders for Black History Month that warranted its own post.

Whoosh! (see what I did there?) is a new book in the library which tells the story of Lonnie Johnson, an inventor who accidentally invented the Super Soaker water gun.

While I love the inspiring stories of the "usual suspects" for Black History Month (Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., etc), I am always drawn to lesser-known people whose stories are worth knowing about. Enter Lonnie Johnson.

I thought this book would be a fun one for younger students, but after I read it for the first time, I read the back matter, where the author told of his inspiration for writing Lonnie's story. He was at a conference and the speaker asked everyone to draw what they thought a scientist looked like. Nearly everyone drew a white man with glasses and a lab coat, which was a sign for him that other stories needed to be told.

I decided to do the same thing with my classes. With no explanation, they came into library with a sheet of paper at their tables. I gave them 5 minutes to draw what they thought a scientist looked like. There were a number of glasses/lab coat scientists but I was blown away that nearly every girl drew a girl scientist. So awesome! I pinned their pictures up and then told them why I had them draw them, and explained why the author wrote this book.

Look at all those female scientists! 

We then read the story aloud and then I shared a clip of Lonnie telling about his invention in his own words (the kids were thrilled to know that he was still alive!).

This lesson worked equally well for 1st and 2nd grades - and one of my more difficult classes (end of the day on Thursday - they are often spent!), did an awesome job with it. Definitely one I am going to repeat next year!

No comments:

Post a Comment