Grace Hopper, Queen of Computer Code

Grace Hopper, Queen of Computer Code
Written by Laurie Wallmark, Illustrated by Katy Wu

Publisher’s Summary:
A picture book biography of Grace Hopper, who played a prominent role in the early days of computers.

Primary Source Pairing:
To the digital natives in our current classrooms, the invention of the computer is ancient history. In 2019, using a technological device is as commonplace as brushing your teeth. Grace Hopper envisioned computers in a way that set the framework for the digital natives to be who they are today. For this primary source pairing, invite students to study an image of MARK II, the computer created after Grace Hopper and her team were working on MARK I as described in this book.

Alternatively, use this image as an anticipatory analysis activity and invite students to analyze the image before introducing the book. Do students identify that the computer shown in the primary source was the beginnings of the devices our students now carry in their pockets?!

Questions for Discussion:

  • Describe what you see.
  • What do you notice first?
  • Find something small but interesting.
  • What do you notice that you didn’t expect?
  • What do you notice that you can’t explain?
  • What do you think this image is showing?
  • What questions do you have when you study this image?

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
“Colossus Mark 2 Computer from the rear,” photograph taken by Andrew and AnneMarie, available on Flickr through a Creative Commons license