Introduce Students to Numerical Methods with the Hidden Figures Problem Solving Studio, by Lauren Lowman
This module introduces students to Katherine Goble Johnson, one of the NACA mathematicians or "computers" who worked on the calculations for the early U.S. Space Program. In this activity, students apply the method Johnson developed to calculate the burnout position for the capsule. This provides a great opportunity for engineering students to reflect on the human consequences of error. Specifically, this class activity highlights the importance of coding, numerical algorithm development, and supercomputers. We use the Problem Solving Studio approach to keep the students in an interactive mode of learning throughout the activity.