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Hidden Figures

Explore the inspiring story of three black women mathematicians in Hidden Figures who overcame gender and racial discrimination.

Hidden Figures Book

The Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Who Helped Win the Space Race is a novel by Margot Lee Shetterly. Shetterly started working on the novel in 2010. The novel spans the 1930s through the 1960s, detailing the distinctive obstacles for black women in science during this time, thereby briefly discussing a more obscure history.

In the field of science, black women worked especially in this area, thereby supplying an additional unknown picture of NASA's previous story. The biographical text covers the great lives of women such as Katherine C. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, who oversaw computers at NACA and NASA during the race for space. (Source: Wikipedia)

Hidden Figures Women

Katherine married James and started a family. They had three daughters: Constance, Joylette, and Katherine. Her husband died of an inoperable brain tumor and a few years later she re-married. Katherine earned a PhD in math and worked as a Physicist and Mathematician. (Source: Wikipedia)

Dorothy married Howard and the couple had four children. She earned a B.A. in mathematics and worked for 28 years in this discipline. (Source: Wikipedia)

Mary was married with two children. She earned bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and physical science, worked as a research mathematician, and later became an engineer. (Source: Wikipedia)

Hidden Figures Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson, the black woman whose mathematical genius took her from an expedition manager in a segregated NASA to a giant role in sending humans to the moon. She is a great student who excels academically in school. (Source: Reuters)

Katherine impresses a prestigious and demanding professor, William Schieffelin Claytor, who creates advanced classes for her and encourages her to go to graduate school. Katherine is asked to become one of three Black students to be accepted to West Virginia University's graduate school. (Source: SparkNotes)

Johnson made the transition to the computer age, working on the shuttle program while writing or co-writing 26 research reports. She was among the first employees to retire from the NASA program. She claimed to have been most proud of her contributions to the first moon mission, including the establishment of GPS coordinates that synchronized the craft on the moon and the orbiting command module.  (Source: Reuters)

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Hidden Figures Movie

Hidden Figures is a 2016 American biographical drama film directed by Theodore Melfi and written by Melfi and Allison Schroeder. Based on the 2016 non-fiction book by Margot Lee Shetterly, is loosely based on the aggregate of three African-American women who worked as mathematicians at NASA during the Space Race. 

Hidden Figures was released on December 25, 2016, by 20th Century Fox, before going wide in North America on January 6, 2017. The film received critical acclaim, with support for the performances, writing, direction, cinematography, emotional tone, and historical accuracy, but some reviewers argued that it was a white savior narrative. (Source: Wikipedia)

Hidden Figures
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monae, Kevin Costner (Actors)

Hidden Figures

An incredible & inspiring untold true story about three women at NASA who were instrumental in one of history’s greatest operations – the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit.

Hidden Figures Cast

HIDDEN FIGURES, scheduled for general release on January 13, 2017, assembles an all-star cast to bring to life the story of the three African Americans, who worked at NASA: Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson. (Source: Hidden Figures)

Below is the list of the cast and the roles they take in the movie.

  • Taraji P. Henson as Katherine Johnson
  • Octavia Spencer as Dorothy Vaughan
  • Janelle Monáe as Mary Jackson
  • Kevin Costner as Al Harrison
  • Mahershala Ali as Jim Johnson
  • Kirsten Dunst as Vivian Mitchell
  • Jim Parsons as Paul Stafford
  • Kimberly Quinn as Ruth/Co-Producer
  • Glen Powell as John Glenn
  • Aldis Hodge as Levi Jackson
  • Bob Jennings as Navy Officer

Hidden Figures Trailer


A team of African-American female contributors to NASA provides the agency with essential numerical data used to start the service's first successful space mission.

Hidden Figures Rating

The MPAA has given Hidden Figures a PG rating due to mild vulgarity and some thematic content.

Violence: News footage of the civil rights movement's bloodshed is displayed. A book from the library is stolen by a character. It is questioned if space flight is dangerous. Characters experience harassment, denigration, and discrimination. Authorities and society treat characters unjustly and incorrectly.

Sexual Content: Characters hug and kiss one another. There is some flirty chatter.

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Profanity: It is rare to hear profanities, insults, or references to deities.

Alcohol/Drug Use: Women share some homemade booze, and one of them becomes a touch tipsy. There is drinking in social situations as well. There is smoking. (Source: Parent Previews)

Hidden Figures Where to Watch

Hidden Figures is currently available on Disney+. Hidden Figures can be rented or purchased on Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, iTunes, and Google Play.

Hidden Figures Netflix

Hidden Figures is currently not available on your Netflix. You can stream it on other streaming platforms like Disney+.

Hidden Figures Summary

Three brilliant African-American women who worked in professional positions at NASA helped the United States advance during the Space Race. Mathematician Katherine Goble Johnson and her two colleagues, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, worked in the segregated West Area Computers division of Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

Using the group’s calculations, NASA supported John Glenn in becoming the first American astronaut to make a complete orbit of Earth in 1969. (Source: Wikipedia)

Their story can be read in a book titled Hidden Figures

Although I don’t work in a mathematics-related industry or job, I attended a school that specialized in STEM. This story about Katherine, Dorothy, and Mary is so near and dear to my heart because they worked in Virginia, my home state. All of these pieces make me feel so connected to these great ladies.

Hidden Figures Movie Guide

Hidden Figures is the amazing story of three black women that helped America in winning the Space Race: Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughan. The movie guide supports studies on the Space Race, the Cold War, Black history, Women's history, and segregation.

This Hidden Figures Movie Guide is intended for students in grades 5-8. It is adaptable to fourth grade. This package includes 15 pages of exercises and discussion questions, as well as an answer key.

Hidden Figures Questions

These open-ended discussion questions include prompts, where students are asked a question and would need to write out a reflection answer. There are also pre-viewing questions to encourage students to think about some concepts before viewing the film.

Hidden Figures Questions and Answers

The question and answer section includes a quiz, with specific answers to questions that a teacher would need to grade according to an answer key.

Hidden Figures Worksheet PDF

This Hidden Figures worksheet pdf comes with 15 pages of activities and discussion, plus an answer key.

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  • Pre-Viewing Questions
  • Movie Quiz
  • Discussion Questions (2 pages)
  • Cause and Effect
  • Traits of Katherine
  • Katherine vs Mary


  • The History of NASA paragraph
  • Katherine Johnson paragraph
  • Space Race timeline


  • Lessons Learned
  • Creative Cover
  • Katherine Johnson Coloring Page
  • Word Search

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