Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Black History Month 2018

For my teacher friends - Use and adapt as you like

Black History Month – Scientists & Inventors Edition

1.    Have you ever thought about being an astronaut? Guion Bluford and Mae Jemison were the first African American astronauts in space. Guion Bluford was born in Philadelphia. He was a combat pilot before he became an astronaut. Mae Jemison was a doctor before she became an astronaut. The next time you look up at the stars, think of Guion Bluford and Mae Jemison.

2.    Have you ever traveled on a train? Elijah McCoy was a Black inventor who improved train travel in the 19th century. He received 57 patents for his inventions. We use his name today when we call the original and best thing “the real McCoy.” The next time you see a train go by, think of Elijah McCoy.

3.    Can you imagine what driving would be like if stoplights only had green and red lights but no yellow warning lights? Can you imagine a firefighter going into a smoke-filled building without a mask? Garrett Morgan was an African American inventor who created the first traffic signal with a warning light, and the first gas mask for firefighters. The next time you see a stoplight or a firetruck, think of Garrett Morgan.

4.    Have you ever seen a security camera? Marie Van Brittan Brown invented the first home security camera in the 1960’s. The camera looked through a set of peepholes and sent images to a TV monitor. It also included a two-way microphone to speak with a person outside, and an emergency button to call the police. The next time you notice a security camera, think of Marie Van Brittan Brown.

5.    Have you ever seen a big truck on the highway bringing food to the grocery store from faraway places? That food needs to stay cold or it will spoil. Frederick Jones was an African American engineer who invented the first automatic refrigeration system for trucks. The next time you eat an orange from Florida or an avocado from South America, think of Frederick Jones.

6.    Have you ever had your vision checked? Patricia Bath is an African American doctor who co-founded the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness. She invented the Laserphaco (LAY-zer FAY-co) Probe to treat patients who are going blind with cataracts. The next time you visit the eye doctor, think of Patricia Bath.

7.    Do you know anyone with arthritis? Did you know that many medicines come from plants? Percy Julian was an African American chemist who discovered how to use cortisone to treat arthritis. He made cortisone from soybeans. If you know someone with arthritis, you can tell them about Percy Julian.

8.    How did we send astronauts all the way to the moon? Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Dorothy Vaughan (VAHN) were “human computers” who worked at NASA. They did all the math equations and calculations to figure out how to send a rocket to the moon – and they did them by hand. To learn more about Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Dorothy Vaughan, you can watch the movie “Hidden Figures.”

9.    Do you like peanut butter? George Washington Carver was an inventor and a teacher. He researched peanuts, sweet potatoes, soybeans, and other crops. He came up with 300 uses for peanuts, including fuel, soap, and peanut butter. The next time you bite into a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, think of George Washington Carver.

10. Do you like ice cream cones? You probably do! Alfred Cralle (CRAWL) was a Black business person who invented the ice cream scoop. Before his invention, getting ice cream into a cone was a sticky mess! Cralle received a patent for his ice cream scoop in 1897. The next time you get an ice cream cone, think of Alfred Cralle.

11. Eat healthy food! Not too much fat! Not too much sugar! Marie Daly was the first African American woman to receive a Ph.D. in chemistry in the United States in 1947. She studied how the body's chemicals digest food. Her work led to a new understanding of how foods can affect the health of the heart. The next time you chomp down on a fresh, healthy vegetable, think of Marie Daly.

12. If you have ever watched a TV show about space, you may have seen Neil deGrasse Tyson. Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of the most famous scientists in the world. He has written many books and hosted many TV shows about science, including Star Talk and Cosmos. If you want to know more about space, check out Neil deGrasse Tyson.

13. Have you ever used a washing machine? Ellen Eglin was an African American woman who invented one of the first washing machines in the 1880’s. Her invention was a hand-cranked machine that passed wet clothes between two rollers, squeezing out the water and dirt. The next time you see a washing machine, think of Ellen Eglin.

14. Have you ever ridden in an elevator? Alexander Miles was a Black man who, in 1867, designed an important safety feature for elevators – their automatic doors. Before his invention, people had to close the elevator door by hand. If they forgot, they risked falling out of the elevator. The next time you go on an elevator, think of Alexander Miles.

15. Have you ever used caller ID to see who is phoning you? Dr. Shirley Jackson is a Black woman who worked at Bell Labs doing research on telecommunications. Her discoveries enabled others to invent the portable fax, touch tone telephone, solar cells, fiber optic cables, caller ID, and call waiting. The next time you answer the phone, think of Shirley Jackson.

16. Have you ever used a microphone? James West is a Black scientist who studied at Temple University and worked at Bell Labs. Ninety percent of microphones today, including in phones, camcorders, and baby monitors, use his technology. The next time you record yourself on your phone, think of James West.

17. Do you wear sunscreen in the summer? Jewel Plumber Cobb was Black scientist who studied skin cancer. She researched the effects of chemotherapy drugs on human cells, leading the way to better tools for fighting cancer. She spent her career working for more opportunities in science for women and people of color. The next time you put on your sun screen, think of Jewel Plumber Cobb.

18. Are you wearing shoes? I hope so! Jan Matzeliger (YAHN mat-ZEL-lig-er) was a Black shoemaker who was born in Suriname, South America, and moved to Philadelphia. At that time, shoes were made by hand and took a long time to make. Matzeliger invented a machine that could make 700 pairs of shoes in a day. When you put on your shoes, think of Jan Matzeliger.

19. When is the last time you used a computer? Mark Dean is a Black engineer who invented many features of modern computers. Your computer uses a color monitor. It can do a billion calculations a second. It can send files to a printer. Mark Dean led the development of all these innovations. The next time you sit down at a computer, think of Mark Dean.

20. Have you ever dropped off clothes at the dry cleaner? Thomas Jennings received a patent for a dry-cleaning process called “dry scouring” in 1821. He was the first Black person to receive a patent in the United States. His process cleaned clothes without using water. The next time you take a suit to the dry cleaner, think of Thomas Jennings.

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