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Lesson Plan by Lauren Martin M.Ed.

Hidden Figures

This free, printable Pixton lesson plan brings American History and Film to life with comics and storyboards.

Make American History and Film come to life with comics!

Including these awesome activities:
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Featured Layouts

When students complete the activities in this lesson plan, they will use the following comic layout types.

  • Character Map
  • Mind Map
  • Comic Strip
  • Storyboard
  • Graphic Novel

Your students will create amazing images like these in no time!

Pixton Lesson Plan on Hidden Figures
This free, printable Pixton lesson plan brings American History and Film to life with comics and storyboards.
Pixton Lesson Plan on Hidden Figures

Main Characters

Hidden Figures

When you import any of the activities below, you can choose to share these ready-made characters with your students.

  • Katherine Johnson from Hidden Figures
    Katherine Johnson

    Main character and lead mathematician

  • Dorothy Vaughan from Hidden Figures
    Dorothy Vaughan

    African American NASA Supervisor

  • Mary Jackson from Hidden Figures
    Mary Jackson

    NASA's first black Female Engineer

  • Al Harrison from Hidden Figures
    Al Harrison

    NASA Space Task Group Director

  • Vivian Mitchell from Hidden Figures
    Vivian Mitchell

    White Nasa Supervisor

  • Paul Stafford from Hidden Figures
    Paul Stafford

    White Nasa Engineer

  • Colonel Jim Johnson from Hidden Figures
    Colonel Jim Johnson

    Katherine's Husband

  • Levi Jackson from Hidden Figures
    Levi Jackson

    Mary's Husband

  • John Glenn from Hidden Figures
    John Glenn

    First Astronaut to orbit Earth

Featured Props

Hidden Figures

Student creations come alive with these themed objects – in addition to our library of over 3,000 props!

  • Blackboard
    Blackboard
  • Book
    Book
  • Booster
    Booster
  • Chair
    Chair
  • Computer
    Computer
  • Launchpad
    Launchpad
  • Planet
    Planet
  • Prop Paper Pad
    Prop Paper Pad
  • Shuttle
    Shuttle
  • Spaceship
    Spaceship
Print this Teacher Guide

Teacher Guide

Hidden Figures

Step 1Class discussion with students

Getting Started

The film, Hidden Figures, is a fictionalized portrayal of the nonfiction book, also called Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly. It is the story of the African American mathematicians who made it possible for America to "win" the space race by sending the first astronaut to orbit earth.

Opening Discussion

Discuss the following:

  • What do you know about segregation and civil rights?
  • What do you know about the cold war?
  • What do you know about the space race?
  • What do you know about Apollo 11 and NASA?
Step 2Pixton comic-making activities
  • Make a Character Map
    Character Map

    Begin at the start of the novel, and make additions throughout the unit.

    View Activity
  • Make a Mind Map
    Major Themes

    Complete at the end of the film.

    View Activity
  • Make a Comic Strip
    Scene Summary

    Track major events throughout and complete at the end of the film.

    View Activity
  • Extension / Modification
    Comic Strip (Extension / Modification)

    Create a Comic Strip to illustrate the actual historical events that were occurring during the film.

  • Extension / Modification
    Storyboard (Extension / Modification)

    Create a Storyboard to compare and contrast the nonfiction book and the fictionalized film.

  • Extension / Modification
    Graphic Novel (Extension / Modification)

    Create a short Graphic Novel to summarize the film.

Step 3Concluding discussion with students

Discuss the following:

  • What was your favorite thing about this film? Why?
  • What was your least favorite thing about this film? Why?
  • What surprised you about the film? Why?
  • When did characters experience racism and segregation?
  • When did characters experience respect and equality?
  • What was each woman's role in the Apollo 11 orbit?
  • Why is the book and film titled, Hidden Figures? How does this title have multiple meanings?
  • What themes can be learned from this film?
  • What traits did these women embody that allowed them to succeed, and what can you learn from them personally?
  • Make a text connection between the events from this film and current events.
  • Why do you think these women did not receive recognition?
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Pixton Activity: Hidden Figures 1 Character Map

Featured Layouts

  • Character Map

Intro

Determining character traits is an important skill necessary to understanding the conflicts and themes of the plot. The characteristics that make up the main character and supporting characters help shape the outcome of the narrative.

Instructions

Choose three of your favorite characters from Hidden Figures and create a Character Map for each one.

  • It's important to add as many details as you can to all the parts of the map.
  • Include an appropriate illustration based on the character traits outlined in the novel.

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

Rubric: Character Map

Use this interactive rubric for easy, thorough assessment. It can even be used by students for self-assessment!

5 4 3 2 1
Overview The character map is thoughtful; descriptions are detailed and informative. The character map is fully developed; accurate details and insightful descriptions. The character map is complete; descriptions are simple and settings are accurate. The character map includes basic details, but is not fully developed. The character map does not accurately reflect the characters.
Meaning Ideas, information and use of detail • strong point of view
• summary is clear and highly detailed
• descriptions are thoughtful and highly developed
• significant details that make characters unique and dynamic
• relevant ideas with consistent analysis
• summary is clear and accurate
• logical descriptions that clarify and develop the idea
• characters are similar; includes relevant details
• relevant ideas with some analysis
• summary is short, but accurate
• descriptions are simple and consistent
• characters similar to description
• some relevant ideas
• summary has several errors
• descriptions are brief and lack detail
• characters vaguely looks like description
• often very brief
• summary is has significant errors
• descriptions are difficult to follow
• characters do not look like description
Style Clarity, variety, impact of visuals and language • language is clear, varied
• flows smoothly; variety in sentences
• images and characters are fully developed; high attention to detail
• language is clear with some variety
• includes a variety of sentence lengths and patterns
• images and characters have purpose and significance
• language is clear with little variety
• basic sentence structures with a few variations
• images and characters are basic, but have purpose
• basic language; vague at times
• repeats a few basic sentence structures
• images and characters have minimal development
• vague, incorrect and repetitive language
• poorly constructed sentences; little variety
• images and characters are poorly developed
Form Organization and sequence • proper organization
• panels are thoughtful and detailed
• all panels are organized or logical
• all panels are present
• most panels are organized or logical
• all panels are present
• some panels are organized or logical
• some panels may be missing
• panels are not organized or logical
• panels are missing
Conventions The text demonstrates standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses eloquent words, rich sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses precise words, controlled sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates standard English conventions
• uses words and phrases, telling details and sensory language to convey a vivid picture
• demonstrates some accuracy in standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • contains multiple inaccuracies in Standard English conventions of usage and mechanics
Total
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Pixton Activity: Hidden Figures 2 Major Themes

Featured Layouts

  • Mind Map

Intro

Whenever reading a text or watching a film, it is important to pay attention to the major themes. Theme is not a moral or lesson, it is a generalization or truth about life or human nature that is better understood from the text/film.

Instructions

In a Mind Map choose two of the major themes and for each one, choose two quotes or scenes that enhance this theme:

  • Identify the scene in the panel title
  • Create an image that summarizes the scene
  • Include a scene or quote that fits the theme

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

Rubric: Major Themes

Use this interactive rubric for easy, thorough assessment. It can even be used by students for self-assessment!

5 4 3 2 1
Overview The theme is highly developed; examples have significant purpose and are highly detailed. The theme is well developed; examples are specific and provide ample support. The theme is briefly discussed; examples are accurate but not fully explained. The theme is poorly discussed; vague or irrelevant examples. The theme is not identified; lacks any supporting examples.
Meaning Ideas, information and use of detail • strong point of view
• develops ideas clearly and logically with details, examples, and descriptions
• relevant ideas with consistent analysis
• logical descriptions or examples clarify and develop the ideas
• relevant ideas with some analysis
• examples or descriptions are simple and consistent
• few relevant ideas
• examples or descriptions may be poorly developed or illogical
• ideas are not developed
• few details or descriptions
Style Clarity, variety, impact of visuals and language • language is clear, varied
• flows smoothly; variety in sentences
• images and characters are fully developed; high attention to detail
• language is clear with some variety
• includes a variety of sentence lengths and patterns
• images and characters have purpose and significance
• language is clear with little variety
• basic sentence structures with a few variations
• images and characters are basic, but have purpose
• basic language; vague at times
• repeats a few basic sentence structures
• images and characters have minimal development
• vague, incorrect and repetitive language
• poorly constructed sentences; little variety
• images and characters are poorly developed
Form Organization and sequence • proper organization
• examples are properly referenced
• panels are thoughtful and detailed
• all panels are organized or logical
• examples are properly referenced
• all panels are present
• most panels are organized or logical
• examples are properly referenced
• all panels are present
• some panels are organized or logical
• examples are not/improperly referenced
• some panels may be missing
• panels are not organized or logical
• examples are not referenced
• panels are missing
Conventions The text demonstrates standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses eloquent words, rich sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses precise words, controlled sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates standard English conventions
• uses words and phrases, telling details and sensory language to convey a vivid picture
• demonstrates some accuracy in standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • contains multiple inaccuracies in Standard English conventions of usage and mechanics
Total
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Pixton Activity: Hidden Figures 3 Scene Summary

Featured Layouts

  • Comic Strip

Intro

Track four important scenes from the film.

Instructions

Create a Comic Strip to summarize four main events from the film:

  • Identify the key points that are important to the specific scene.
  • Include an appropriate illustration and dialogue.

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

Example Comic Strip

Scene Summary "Hidden Figures" by Student

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