STEM Activities for Black History Month — Boundless Brilliance (2024)

February is Black History Month, and it is a great time to recognize and study the great work done by Black scientists both past and present and to encourage a future generation of Black scientists! Check out these awesome science experiments and activities to honor the work of Black scientists and explore the importance of equity in STEM.

1. Bag of Inclusion, Diversity & Empathy

In our classrooms and in our lives, we all come from different backgrounds and have different abilities. Sometimes, however, people come in with more advantages and more privileges than other people just because of who they are. In this activity, students will all be instructed to complete the same task, but they will all have different instructions. One group will be given instructions to complete the task as is, one group will receive instructions written in a different language, one group must complete the task with their eyes closed, all members of one group must work with their hands behind their backs, and one group is not allowed to speak. Some groups will also have items missing from their bags, such as missing markers or scissors. Students will notice that some groups finish much faster than others and they may begin to notice that they had different instructions. After all groups have completed the task, ask students how the activity made them feel. Was the fastest group the best group? For the groups who had an advantage, why didn’t they help out the other groups? Use these questions to discuss privilege and brainstorm ideas on how to be more mindful and inclusive moving forward.

For full directions, click here.

2. Celebrate & Appreciate

This activity is a great “first day” activity, as students will get the opportunity to get to know more about each other and celebrate their differences. Gather all of the students in a circle and start making requests for different groups to step into the circle, such as “If you identify as Asian American, step into the circle!”. Take one minute to celebrate all the students in the circle by clapping, cheering, dancing around, or just being silly! Continue to make different statements about identity (Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Girl, Boy, Non-Binary, etc.) as well as other statements that students can relate to such as “If you have a brother or sister, step into the circle!”. Make sure to include identities that may not be represented in your circle of students, so that they can still be celebrated. To wrap up this activity, give everyone one minute to cheer and celebrate everyone in the circle. Remind students that everyone is different, but our differences should be recognized and celebrated all the time!

3. Sorting & Separating

Every single day, we categorize and separate things based on their looks, sizes, and tons of other properties. We do this with people too. However, it’s important that we learn to embrace and value our differences. This activity will show students how we categorize things and how to celebrate diversity, and all you need are some common household items. You can use buttons, clips, markers, or any other small objects with different qualities. Allow students, in groups or individually, to take a few minutes and brainstorm all the ways they could separate these objects. Share out some of the categories students created and discuss how these categories are related to the ways we separate human beings. Do we identify each other by our shape? Do we categorize people through color? It is important to recognize that we are all unique, but it is even more important to appreciate and encourage our differences!

During Black History Month and the rest of the year, it is important to have conversations honoring the work of Black scientists and to work on actively dismantling stereotypes about who can be a scientist. These experiments and activities can help you introduce concepts like privilege, diversity, equity, and inclusion to young students. It is critical to continue these conversations beyond these activities by talking about current events, reading books with empowering messages, and modeling inclusive behavior. If you are interested in more resources for building an inclusive classroom or youth space, check out some of our other blog posts on books to inspire kids to be advocates and tips for teaching your kids about race.

STEM Activities for Black History Month  — Boundless Brilliance (2024)


What is the 2024 Black History Month theme? ›

Each year, Black History Month brings another opportunity to discover contributions that enrich our nation. The 2024 theme, “African Americans and the Arts,” explores the creativity, resilience and innovation from a culture that has uplifted spirits and soothed souls in countless ways across centuries.

How do you celebrate Black History Month in science? ›

STEM Activities that Celebrate Black History Month
  1. Black History Month Online Scavenger Hunt. ...
  2. George Washington Carver Live Lab & Craft. ...
  3. 3D Print or Draw Adinkra Symbols. ...
  4. Build a microphone like Dr. ...
  5. Take a Virtual Tour of the Harlem Renaissance Era. ...
  6. Unlock the Secrets of the Universe with Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Jan 29, 2021

What is a good discussion question for black history? ›

As a whole, do you think white Americans are disinterested in African American history? What facts did you use to form your opinion? Today, there are museums and memorials to honor African Americans who played a vital role in working towards equality for the race. Is it enough to honor these men and women this way?

What are the essential questions about black history? ›

Questions for you to consider: ● What motivated African Americans to fight in the Civil War ● What were the limits of the Emancipation Proclamation ● What were White Americans' and White politicians' concerns regarding the Black response to the Civil War?

Which president made Black History Month? ›

Woodson and other prominent African Americans. President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Why was February chosen as Black History Month? ›

Woodson chose February for reasons of tradition and reform. It is commonly said that Woodson selected February to encompass the birthdays of two great Americans who played a prominent role in shaping black history, namely Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, whose birthdays are the 12th and the 14th, respectively.

What are some unknown Black history facts? ›

Black History Month Trivia
  • William Tucker, son of indentured servants from Great Britain, was the first recorded African child to be born in the colonies in 1624.
  • Vermont was the first colony to ban slavery in 1777.
  • In the 1770s, a Quaker named Anthony Benezet created the first school for African American children.
Jan 11, 2022

What are 5 things about Black History Month? ›

Here are five important things to know about this meaningful commemoration:
  • It Started as a Week. In 1915, Harvard-educated historian Carter G. ...
  • Carter Woodson: The Father of Black History. ...
  • February Was Chosen for a Reason. ...
  • A Week Becomes a Month. ...
  • Honoring African-American Men and Women.
Feb 18, 2019

What is the best way to teach Black History Month? ›

Below are some tips to help educators improve the way they teach Black History — in February and all year long.
  • Teach through Black voices. Don't teach about Black history — teach through it, King says. ...
  • Highlight the achievements of Black people. ...
  • Center Black perspectives. ...
  • Honor Black humanity.

Who are the impactful African Americans in stem? ›

From Susie King Taylor, the first recognized African American army nurse, to Benjamin Banneker, the first African American man of science and mathematics, to Dorothy Johnson Vaughan, Mary Winston Jackson, and Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson, a group of black women mathematicians working at NASA, African Americans have ...

How do you explain why we celebrate Black History Month? ›

Black History Month was created to focus attention on the contributions of African Americans to the United States. It honors all Black people from all periods of U.S. history, from the enslaved people first brought over from Africa in the early 17th century to African Americans living in the United States today.

What is Black History Month 2024 science? ›

NIH's theme “Black Excellence in Health and Science” is derived from this year's national theme, which celebrates the incredible accomplishments of Black American scientists, researchers, doctors, nurses, and medical professionals.

What are 2 important facts about Black History Month? ›

It was first celebrated during the second week of February in 1926 to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and abolitionist/editor Frederick Douglass (February 14). In 1976, as part of the nation's bicentennial, the week was expanded to a month.

What are 2 things you know about Black History Month? ›

Black History Month celebrates African Americans' history, contributions, and achievements. Almost 100 years ago, Black History Month began as a weeklong event. It's now a month-long celebration that takes place every February. Black history embraces the 400-year-long record of Black life in America.

What is the most important thing about Black History Month? ›

Black History Month was created to focus attention on the contributions of African Americans to the United States. It honors all Black people from all periods of U.S. history, from the enslaved people first brought over from Africa in the early 17th century to African Americans living in the United States today.

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