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BIOLOLGY BIOGRAPHIES

Nora C. Doerder

Type of Entry: Project

Type of Activity:
Review/Reinforcement; Library Research; Creative Expression

Target Audience: Life Science, Biology

Background Information:

Provide students with a list of historical scientists/biologists based on available resources/references. I have provided a generalized list that covers a range of topics and time periods. Indicate scientists on the list that you consider first priority with a star * and have students pick one * name and one non -starred name for the cards. Require that a * name be first choice for the biography scrapbooks.

Students must complete basic research on their scientists using a minimum of three sources with a bibliography. You can choose to check rough notes or to structure the note taking with worksheets, index cards or another format . Research notes should be checked. Make sure students understand the types of information needed and the project format. The type of information needed includes: birth date, death date (if deceased), education/training, interests/ areas studied, significant contributions, awards & honors, a portrait or picture, famous quotes and anything else relevant. The projects allow for creative uses of this information.

If you have access to the Internet, here are some great URLS for science biographies:

The time required to complete these projects will vary depending on whether you use class-time for research and work-time or assign the work outside of class. I generally include these projects while other material is being covered and have checkpoints and workdays in class along the way. Allowing some work time in class is often synergistic for student creativity. I also include time for presentation of the projects.

Abstract:

Students need to appreciate the humanity of the people involved in doing science. Unfortunately straightforward biography reports can be fairly boring. Here are two biologist biography projects that call for more creative approaches on the part of students. The "Famous Biologist Cards" project is shorter and can involve group and class interactions. The"Biography Scrapbook" is an individualized and lengthier project .

Project 1: FAMOUS BIOLOGIST CARDS

This is an activity that can be done at any time. I have found it good to include at the end of the year when spirits are flagging to help provide something new and fun.

Students create scientist biography 'cards', roughly modeled on baseball cards. The cards are produced by students and shared and traded among the members of the class. You can then choose to assess students on their knowledge individually or set up a class competition as teams. This project can provide a good end of the year review if you use the biographies as a tie-in to biological concepts. The cards are also great for Bulletin Boards ( the non-web type). Use 3x5 index cards as raw material and laminate.

Biologist Cards are colorful collectible cards in the following format :

FRONT OF CARD:

  • Picture/portrait
  • NAME OF SCIENTIST
  • Nickname
  • Time period
  • Most significant contribution
  • Awards & Honors
  • Areas of study

BACK OF CARD

  • Stats: Basics biographical information
  • A quote
  • A picture related to this person's work

There aren't too many scientists with nicknames or even famous quotes so be sure and encourage creativity on the part of your students!! The cards should be presented to the class and shared. If you have multiple classes and provide them with a long enough list of names, you can have inter-class competitions.


Project 2: BIOGRAPHY SCRAPBOOK

This project can also be done at anytime. It can be a good 1st quarter icebreaker or an end of the semester /end of the year review.

Students choose one scientist from a list based on available resources, research is completed and checked and then students complete the project as follows :

Using a binder or report holder create a scrapbook about your Biologist that includes the following:

  1. A color COVER serving as an introduction to the scientist and what contributions were made to the life sciences. The cover should be illustrated with a picture or portrait of the scientist and at least two pictures relating to the scientist's work.

  2. FIVE of the following SCRAPBOOK ENTRIES: (your Choice)

    1. A Personal Time-Line for the scientist - Represent the high points of your scientists personal and professional life and include at least 5 historical dates as well.

    2. A Birth Announcement and Birth Certificate - Create a certificate and appropriate information.

    3. A Letter written by the person as a youth to a friend revealing information about the person's youth and their interests

    4. A Letter of Recommendation for this person to a college from a High School Teacher

    5. A Speech or essay written by this person on the topic: "Advice to Young People Who Want To Succeed in Science"

    6. A Letter of introduction from the scientist to our class. Write the letter from the scientist as if they were alive today.

    7. An Obituary including an Epitaph

    8. A Newspaper article reporting and explaining important events in which this person was involved

    9. A Script for a radio commercial featuring this person and their work

    10. A Color advertisement about this person and their work

    11. Anything else you might want to include (ON APPROVAL!)
List of Biologists

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