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Purpose and the Invention of Kevlar: Stephanie Kwolek

45 min

Walk-In-The-Shoes Questions
As you read, imagine you are the protagonist.

  • What challenges are you facing?
  • What fears or concerns might you have?
  • What may prevent you from acting in the way you ought?

Observation Questions

  • What was Kwolek’s purpose in developing Kevlar?
  • What adverse events did Kwolek encounter and how did she respond to adversity at several different points in her life?
  • As a young person, Kwolek saw several different possible identities for herself. What identities or roles do you have? Which is most significant to you? Why? Which is most significant to others? Why?

Discussion Questions
Discuss the following questions with your students.

  • What is the historical context of the narrative?
  • What historical circumstances presented a challenge to the protagonist?
  • How and why did the individual exhibit a moral and/or civic virtue in facing and overcoming the challenge?
  • How did the exercise of the virtue benefit civil society?
  • How might exercise of the virtue benefit the protagonist?
  • What might the exercise of the virtue cost the protagonist?
  • Would you react the same under similar circumstances? Why or why not?
  • How can you act similarly in your own life? What obstacles must you overcome in order to do so?
  • Students will analyze Stephanie Kwolek’s purposeful behavior in her work as a chemistry researcher.
  • Students will evaluate the value in acting with purpose.
  • Students will apply their knowledge of the virtue purpose to their own lives.

Student Handouts