A new toy will soon be available that seeks to address the science achievement gap for Black and female students. According to studies, for many children of color the gap starts as early as kindergarten and gets worse in later grades.
Lego, the toy maker, is set to release a product honoring the African-American female pioneers of NASA’s space program to foster an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers, Newsweek reports.
The Lego Ideas 21312 Women of NASA is inspired by the film “Hidden Figures,” which recounts the true story of Black women working in STEM fields at NASA. The space agency discriminated against them, but they nevertheless made important contributions to the space program.
“I thought people might like to build their own display featuring minifigures of accomplished women in the STEM professions. For the vignettes, I wanted to contextualize each person in terms of her contribution to NASA history,” said Maia Weinstock, the Lego Ideas member who created the product.
In addition to “Hidden Figures” characters, the set includes Sally Ride, the first woman in space, and Mae Jemison, the first Black female astronaut to travel into space.
NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, the lead character in the film, is missing from the set. The news outlet said Lego didn’t receive approval from “all the key people” to create a figurine of Johnson.
Lego’s Women of NASA set will be available for purchase everywhere on November 1.