The Black Scientific Renaissance of the 1970s-90s: African American Scientists at Bell Laboratories

A two-part lesson asks young scientists to research the contributions of African American scientists at Bell Laboratories. After presenting their findings, class members watch two demonstrations that introduce them to total internal reflection. To conclude the lesson, groups conduct their own experiments with optic cables and LEDs.

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CCSS: Designed
NGSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas
  • Have groups research other programs that provide support for women and minorities seeking careers in science
Classroom Considerations
  • Required materials include an LED flashlight or laser, a fiber optic cable, and clear plastic soda bottles
  • Pupils must have access to devices with internet connections
  • The two parts of the lesson can be taught in any order
Pros
  • Includes an informative article about the history of Bell Labs and of African American scientists who established programs there for the advancement of Black scientists and technicians 
Cons
  • None