Celebrating Scientific Contributions: Black History Month Digital Stories

Hello Apple Teachers -

I want to share with you a project that my students have enjoyed these past few years. This digital story work focuses on middle school students collaborating and co-authoring an inspirational project with a first grade partner or partners.

Working with both my middle school Science colleague and my first grade homeroom teams, we generate a list of black American scientists. This list is then presented to the eighth graders to preview and select a scientist of interest. The eighth graders conduct research on their scientist focusing on his/her field of study and significant contribution. At this point in the project, the middle school students will design a digital storyboard outlining their initial story concept. These storyboards are then presented to their first grade co-authors, who will learn about the scientist and suggest changes to the design.

Students work together to compose a fun, inspiring, story about the black American scientist. The final stories are shared with the greater school community in a special Black History Month presentation.

What I love about this collaboration is that it promotes a variety of soft skills: communication, teamwork, time management, patience, troubleshooting, and creative thinking.

Hope you're inspired to try it or something similar in your communities!


All Comments

Posted on August 14, 2023

Wonderful combination of learners. And it’s so good to see students step up and take on the role of teacher and collaborator with younger learners. Thanks for sharing your process.

I work a lot with primary sources. So another extended idea might be to pair students up to create a Pages book focused on Black scientists throughout history using primary source images to help tell their story.

Posted on August 31, 2023

Cheryl, thank you for this extension idea. Yes, I am always looking for ways to improve this project, especially since the students enjoy working together. I will include your comment in my teacher journal notes and be sure to post on X (formerly Twitter) too. Have a great school year!

Posted on October 02, 2023

Cheryl, I'm really glad that you are thinking about using Pages for this project idea. I'd love to see how your projects turn out for this storytelling work. I'm hoping to have the students use Keynote to generate animated stories with Voiceover features. Maybe offering them the choice of which Apple application would work for their digital storytelling might be an idea too?

Posted on August 16, 2023


Wow! This is a great project! I like how it involves different grades collaborating on a single project. What seems to be the most common way that your students are sharing their findings? Keynote, Clips, GarageBand?

I can see how this project framework could be used for a variety of topics!

Posted on August 31, 2023

Hello Jeremy,

I apologize in my delayed response to your question. I am still getting use to using our Apple forum space. In terms of which Apple tools my students will use for this project, Keynote is the staple. I’m thinking that I may have them use Notes to gather data/images for their brainstorming work. Also, I love that they collaborate on the short story.

Posted on October 04, 2023


Keynote is a great option to use for this type of project. I went with having my student research women in the computer science field. They then created a multimedia presentation in keynote about what they learned. They were able to record their own video and do voice overs in their presentations. For the collaboration I had my group try Freeform. They see me use it as a digital whiteboard and wanted to try it for themselves.

Posted on December 06, 2023

Hello Jeremy,

Yes! Now that my students have been using Keynote more, they are loving its tools such as the ability to export as a movie. That application and possibly Garage Band will be part of this year's Black History Month celebrations. Oh, and I promise to share the other idea about honoring the Underground Railroad Pioneers too!

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