When you think about women in STEM and space, you definitely can’t ignore NASA mathematician and “hidden figure” Katherine Johnson! Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13 by Helaine Becker and illustrated by Dow Phumiruk chronicles Johnson’s story from her days as a childhood phenom (she skipped three grades!) to her remarkable mathematical calculations that saved Apollo 13.
When you’re finished reading Counting on Katherine, ask kids these comprehension questions:
- What challenges did Katherine face while she attended school?
- What was Katherine’s job at NASA? Describe it!
- How did Katherine save Apollo 13?
For our Rosie Reads activity, design your own rockets! Have kids think big and investigate the scientific factors (gravity, force, etc.) that determine how fast and far a rocket goes, and how it gets back to earth. With those factors in mind, have each child design a rocket and build it with materials you have hand (paper, cardboard, etc.)!