Lesson Plan

African Americans and the Manhattan Project

A instructional activity about the Manhattan Project will explode young physicists' understanding of the racial attitudes in the United States during and after World war II. Groups select an African American scientist or technician that worked on the project, research their subject and the historical forces that impacted them, and present their findings to the whole class.

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CCSS: Designed
NGSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas
  • Minimize the chaos of the ping pong ball activity by reminding class members of appropriate protocols
Classroom Considerations
  • Requires materials not usually found in the classroom (stopwatch, ping pong balls, etc.)
  • Includes information about the chain reactions observed in nuclear fission
  • A list of discussion questions helps guide the content of the presentations
  • The ping pong ball activity simulates the nuclear fission process
  • None