Celebrate Black History - Leaders in STEAM!

Artsy Dinos

This week we'll focus on Black leaders and contributors in the S.T.E.A.M subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics). 

1) A Look at Artist Jacob Lawrence

Who he was: African American artist famous for his paintings with vivid colors and social commentary. He rose to prominence with his Migration Series, a series of 60 beautiful panels depicting "the Great Migration, the flight of over a million African Americans from the rural South to the industrial North following the outbreak of World War I." 

What we love: The intensely bold colors and the way he painted movement into his pieces. The captions of each of the panels are intentional in each word and tell a fluid story of the Great Migration. 

Activity: For the older kiddos (and adults!), definitely spend some time and go through each of the 60 panels. Discuss the artist's choice of colors, simple yet bold designs, caption choice and the overall plight of the migrants. How did the conditions in the South lead to this and what was their reception in the North?

For our younger audience, still look through the panels - but as a fun activity, have them color panel No 58 using our free printable here!

2) Black Astronauts and their Journey into Space

Who they are: While America sent its first astronaut into space in 1961, we sent our first black astronaut to space in 1983. Black astronauts faced intense discrimination, especially in the 60s and 70s as America was developing its space program. See this list of Black astronauts who have been into space and what they did!

Activity: Use our sequencing activity and coloring page to discuss 4 black astronauts, their accomplishment and order in time!

3) The Inventor of the Super Soaker: Lonnie George Johnson

Lonnie Johnson

Who he is: Lonnie George Johnson (born October 6, 1949) is an American inventor, aerospace engineer, and entrepreneur, whose work history includes a U.S. Air Force term of service and a twelve-year stint at NASA, including the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He invented the Super Soaker water gun in 1990, which has been among the world's bestselling toys ever since (Wikipedia).

What we love: His story! We love that he tinkered with things his whole life! His continued curiosity, perseverance and love of science and engineering are a great example for our littles! Plus, who doesn't love super soakers and Nerf guns!

Activity: Tinker around and make your own pompom shooter! All you need is a toilet paper roll, a balloon, tape and some pompoms! Decorate your roll with pretty paper first if you want. Talk about how the shooter uses air pressure as the balloon is pulled back to shoot the ball out much like compressed air in a water gun!

pom pom shooter

4) These inventive minds are amazing!

Garrett Morgan



Marie Van Britton Brown

Hope you enjoyed our little poetic tributes!

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