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This lesson provided by:
Author:Amanda Chesser
System: Jasper City
School: West Jasper Elementary School
Lesson Plan ID: 33031

The Life and Contributions of George Washington Carver


This cross curricular lesson is a look into the life of George Washington Carver and the difficulties he overcame to be an important figure in Alabama and United States history. The students will explore and discuss the contributions he made through his studies and inventions. Students will also explore the structure and parts of a sweet potato plant and a peanut plant.  

This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.

Content Standard(s):
SC(2) 5. Identify the relationship of structure to function in plants, including roots, stems, leaves, and flowers.
ELA2015(2) 3. Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges. [RL.2.3]
ELA2015(2) 10. Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text. [RI.2.1]
ELA2015(2) 12. Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text. [RI.2.3]
ELA2015(2) 29. Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about Grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups. [SL.2.1]
ELA2015(2) 30. Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media. [SL.2.2]
SS2010(1) Living and Working Together in Family and Community and State4. Identify contributions of diverse significant figures that influenced the local community and state in the past and present. (Alabama)
SS2010(1) Living and Working Together in Family and Community and State6. Compare ways individuals and groups in the local community and state lived in the past to how they live today. (Alabama)
SS2010(2) Living and Working Together in State and Nation7. Explain production and distribution processes.
SS2010(2) Living and Working Together in State and Nation8. Describe how scarcity affects supply and demand of natural resources and human-made products.
Local/National Standards:  
Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will analyze the struggles George Washington Carver overcame in his early life and evaluate the impact of his inventions through his work in agriculture. Students will answer text-dependent questions based on the book A Weed is a Flower: the Life of George Washington Carver. Students will examine the structure of a peanut plant and a sweet potato plant and distinguish the different parts of the plant.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

Students will relate the idea of supply and demand to recognize farmers' hesitance to plant peanuts and sweet potatoes rather than cotton.

Approximate Duration of the Lesson: 61 to 90 Minutes
Materials and Equipment:

A Weed is a Flower: The Life of George Washington Carver by Aliki

You may also find video versions of the story here:

Sweet potato plant and peanut plant or you may find an illustration online:




Technology Resources Needed:

If using online resources such as the Youtube or Teachertube videos or the online illustrations, teachers will most likely want to use a computer and projector.


Ideally, students will have background knowledge on supply and demand, but it is not necessary.


Day 1:
The teacher will read aloud the book A Weed is a Flower: The Life of George Washington Carver by Aliki. Students will be engaged listeners. While reading, teacher will ask students questions about the text, such as:

  • "Explain what things happened when George was a baby.",
  • "What sort of jobs did George do for the people he lived with?",
  • "What nickname was given to George?", and
  • "How did George surprise the important guests at the Tuskeegee dinner?".

The teacher may call on individual students, have them turn and talk to discuss, or work in other groupings to discuss.

Day 2:
The teacher will reread the Aliki book aloud to the class. Students will discuss in pairs why farmers were hesitant to grow the sweet potatoes and peanuts like George was suggesting. Students will work in pairs or groups to discuss and complete the handout provided in the Assessment section. 

Day 3:
Students will observe actual sweet potato and peanut plants or view online using the links in the Materials section. Students will identify the roots, stems, leaves, and flowers. Students will also identify the parts of these plants that are most commonly consumed. The teacher may point out that George Washington Carver used many other parts of these plants as well.

Attachments:**Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download. TheLifeandContributionsofGeorgeWashingtonCarver.docx
Assessment Strategies:

Students will complete the attached assessment in groups. The teacher may also choose to have students share aloud what they discussed in their groups.


Students may use Wordle to type words that represent George Washington Carver or words that were meaningful from the story. The teacher may choose to print these graphic representations and post in the classroom.


Remedial reading students may be provided with another reading of the story with the teacher or other support personnel.

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior

Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.
Variations Submitted by ALEX Users:
Alabama Virtual Library
Alabama Virtual Library

Hosted by Alabama Supercomputer Authority
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The Malone Family Foundation
The Malone Family Foundation
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