Before Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon, some female mathematicians used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to make calculations that would launch rockets and astronauts into space.
Hidden Figures, a book and now a movie, too, about a group of talented African American women, is one of several titles students can choose from in Brittany Morrison's Accelerated English class. In a literature circle project, students plan their reading schedules, complete different tasks to teach one another about the text and have in-depth conversations about the story.
Eighth-grade students Anna Henderson and Nathan Agree both chose to read Hidden Figures to get insight on the fight for civil rights in the 1940s.
"I like the 'lit' circles because they help me to analyze a novel with my peers," says Nathan. "I feel like I better understand the book when we read it together and discuss the issues."
"Other school projects just give you information," says Anna. "Literature circles really get you to think outside the box and gain a deeper understanding of the story."
Morrison purchased the books through a Lafayette Breakfast Optimist Club grant. "Literature circles are a great way for students to learn from each other," says Morrison. "This is a great opportunity for students to strengthen their leadership and organizational skills."