"Black Panther"-Inspired Lesson Plans Leverage Hit Film to Teach Tech

Free lesson plans combine digital fabrication with an exploration of cultural symbols inspired by the hit Marvel film.

Photo ©Marvel Studios 2018

Freely available lesson plans combine digital fabrication with an exploration of cultural symbols inspired by Black Panther. Part of an evolving Black Panther-inspired collection of K–12 resources related to the hit Marvel film, two lessons are now available, with more to come as part of the SCOPES-DF project, according to the Fab Foundation.

From "Wakandan Bling" lesson plan.

The first lesson leads students in an exploration of designer Ruth Carter’s approach to costume design for Black Panther, using digital fabrication methods to create a tabi-style boot inspired by the Dora Milaje, a female special forces team in the fictional African nation of Wakanda. Another lesson, “Wakandan Bling,” integrates 3-D printing and cultural symbols from the film for wearable end products, including a bracelet, anklet, and earrings. Both curricular plans are geared for grades 7-9+ and do not require prior experience by students. The recommended educator level is “intermediate,” and access to a laser cutter, 3-D printer, and Tinkercad 3-D software is required. “There is a demand for content that is compelling and rich, addresses standards, and serves as an entry point for students that might not otherwise see themselves as scientists or engineers,” says Sonya Pryor-Jones, chief implementation officer of the nonprofit Fab Foundation, an offshoot of MIT’s Center for Bits & Atoms Fab Lab Program. A STEM learning project of the Foundation, SCOPES-DF stands for Scaling a Community of Practice for Education in STEM through Digital Fabrication.

Dora Milaje Tabi Boot. Photo courtesy of the Fab Foundation

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