As soon as the Hidden Figures movie came out I knew I wanted to use it at some point in our homeschooling. It was a perfect book and a movie combo for us. I debated whether to put it in our assigned reading for our Modern History unit OR my planned Speculative Fiction year because some of the books I planned for us to read led to the space race. Eventually, my excitement to read it, led to putting it in our 9th-grade year with speculative fiction, which is just as well because if I’d put it with Modern History, we’d still be waiting to read it because we haven’t hit that time yet.
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Hidden Figures follows the stories of four African American women: Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden, as they worked for NASA to help send a man into space and land on the moon.
That’s a simplistic description. That is what the movie focuses on, but in reality, it covers their entire lives as they all worked to thrive in the South during segregation. You learn how they fought to get an education, and how they fought for each other.
I think that’s what I loved the most about the book, the sense of family in the community.
Hidden Figures book club
I had no official book club to refer to. All the ones I found were too much busywork for my intentions.
I had two goals:
- How had the early science fiction books we’d read inspired the rocket program?
- How did they persist despite all the walls thrown into their path?
But, if you want a better Hidden Figures book club with a bit more structure:
- Hidden Figures lit guide for teachers
- Discussion Questions– I really like their first question, I hadn’t thought about that
And that’s it because all other discussion guides I’m finding are specifically for the movie.
A few snack inspirations for Hidden Figures
- airplane snack-I was trying to find some kind of fun snack to make a cool-looking plane and this gave me some ideas and this airplane snack variation and a third variation.
- rocket snack– this one made me smile
- 1950s food– Hidden Figures, while great for discussions, does not easily lend itself to making lots of fun snacks, so I had to get creative, and decided to be inspired by the time period (I picked 1950s because that’s right smack in the middle of the time period). I decided not to get the tomato aspic, because tomato jello sounds horrible.
Hidden Figures book club snacks
I’m sure you are not too surprised to learn the book isn’t exactly overflowing with food ideas. There are lots of picnics and potlucks described with traditional Southern food, but nothing that just screamed, THIS SNACK!
So be prepared for a lot of traditional American foods we ate as we watched the movie.
- white bread sandwich- amazingly common, but that was a big thing mentioned as being carried with them for lunches
- Party mix- a 1960s food for sure, I picked a sweet version because I know from experience my kids aren’t big into the non-sweet versions
- Meatloaf- another super 1960s food
- Cheese Fondue- this was a popular food at the time of the moon landing
- rockets- strawberries sliced up with marshmallow layers. I think these are awesome
- Tang- a drink invented in the 1960s, which I distinctly remember from my childhood, but never particularly liked, this also was mentioned briefly
- segregation- since this was such a big deal in the book, we attempted to show it by making gingerbread cookies and sugar cookies and we were going to put them separate, but I had the recipe off on the sugar cookies and all it produced were giant blobs
- jello mold- I like jello, I somehow always mess up making jello, but I like it. I did not make any of the weird jello casseroles that were popular at the time. I flat out refuse.
Like, I couldn’t even put those stupid cookies on the plate without it turning into this horrible mess. The kids call that batch of dough the flaubeastian. I don’t even know what that is, but they laugh about it quite a lot.
And as always, if you’d like to get the Hidden Figures book club snack labels, join my newsletter and they are on the subscriber page. You’ll also get a coupon to get the book and a movie by grade level bookmarks for free.