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Getting with the Program: American Women and the Invention of Computer Programming

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STEM and history teachers at a range of levels may be interested in Getting with the Program, a lesson plan created by the National Women's History Museum (NWHM). This standards-aligned, interdisciplinary lesson uses both science and history to introduce students to the history of computers and women's roles as programmers and the effects of gendered job classifications in the past and present. With a suggested timeframe of three 20-minute sessions, the lesson opens with a discussion of women's employment opportunities during World War II before moving on to hands-on demonstrations of parabolic curves and electrical circuits. From there, the lesson discusses the earliest electronic computers and the women who programmed them, then explores the shift in perceptions of programming that occurred when personal computers were first introduced in the late 1970s. Getting with the Program, which incorporates the use of the NWHM's digital exhibit by the same name, was created with students in grades 3-8 in mind and includes suggestions for homework activities for grades 6-8. Founded in 1996 and based in Alexandria, Virginia, the nonprofit and nonpartisan NWHM "envision[s] a world where women's history inspires all people to have equal respect for everyone's experiences and accomplishments."
Archived Scout Publication URL
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Date of Scout Publication
March 8th, 2019
Date Of Record Creation
March 5th, 2019 at 1:03pm
Date Of Record Release
March 6th, 2019 at 9:08am
Resource URL Clicks
76
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