Great Minds: Henrietta Leavitt and the Human Computers

For most people, it would seem impossible to make breakthroughs in astronomy when you aren't allowed to use a telescope, but Henrietta Leavitt did just that. She discovered a formula for determining the distance to stars that are hundreds of light years away. 

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Instructional Ideas

  • Research the other human computers
  • Discover the process of having a moon crater named after her, as well as an asteroid
  • Debate if the rules for awarding the Nobel Prize are fair or if it should be granted posthumously
Classroom Considerations

  • Remember YouTube comments are open to the public — that includes conspiracy theorists
  • Video is the 15th in a series of 25
Pros

  • Includes cross-curricular connections to astronomy, history, women's rights, and math
  • Provides closed captioning for ease of note taking
Cons

  • None