Celebrating Black History Month in the CS Classroom

Hello MS World!

This article from the Teaching Tolerance, entitled, “Do’s And Don’ts of Teaching Black HIstory” is relevant for all curriculum, but particularly struck a chord for me as a teacher of computer science.

In particular, the author makes the point that during Black History Month, teachers should “Relate lessons to other parts of your curriculum”, and “Connect issues in the past to current issues” to ensure that students get the most out of Black HIstory Month, and make curriculum feel like a seamless path that incorporates many ideas instead of quick diversions here or there.

I am planning to incorporate this Ted Talk by Joy Buolamwini, titled, “How I’m Fighting Bias In Algorithms”, and make connections about how representation is essential as new technologies are built. Joy brings up so many themes that my 8th grade students have studied in other subjects, and I believe this video will be a powerful way to recognize that past patterns of racism can still play out today. Joy’s work through the Algorithmic Justice League (and other work featured on her website) also highlight the incredible work that she and countless other African Americans have undertaken in their struggle for equality.

How do you relate your lessons from Black History Month to other parts of your CS curriculum? Are there examples that work really well? Where/how do you connect current issues in CS to current/past issues from the African American story? Would love to hear!