Lesson Plan

Women and the Manhattan Project

The Manhattan Project was a massive undertaking involving multiple sites and thousands of scientists and technicians. To gain an understanding of the women who participated in the project, groups select an oral history of a woman involved, research her background, her contributions, the challenges she faced, and present their findings to the class. To conclude the lesson, class members engage in a simulation of the nuclear reaction process.

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CCSS: Designed
NGSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas
  • Post the Manhattan Project map on the classroom wall along with the group projects detailing the work of the women scientists involved in the project
Classroom Considerations
  • Requires small, lightweight balls, two per participant (Ping pong, foam, or marshmallows)
  • Groups must have access to devices with internet connections to conduct their research into a woman involved in the Manhattan Project
  • The oral histories range from 20 minutes to an hour in length
  • The chain Reaction activity gives scholars a hands-on experience with the chain Reaction concept
  • All the oral histories include transcripts and some include audio or video
  • The discussion questions are designed to give structure to the research activity
  • None