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Curricular Spotlight: Biographies

Curriculum Spotlight-1

Biographies are a great way to dig deep into your curriculum. Often, we study biographies as part of our Social Studies or Language Arts curricula - but they're great in science and math classes, too! Students can work independently, reporting their findings back to the rest of the class, or they can collaborate in groups, working together to tell stories.

The best thing about biographies in the 21st century is that there are so many ways to explore a single person's story. You can plot out important locations with the help of Google Maps, find recordings of people's voices, make a collage of photos or a video of clips and images.  

Browse

The biographies section of the desktop browser contains all the following categories for students to peruse (begin at the "Stories" main page, choose Subject Areas, then Biographies):

  • Art and Music - Long and short stories about artists from Elvis to Bach to Mahalia Jackson 
  • Business - Henry J. Heinz, Milton Hershey, and Howard Schultz, among others
  • Exploration - From the wilderness of North America all the way to outer space
  • Governing/Ruling - Stories about political persons from Ancient Egypt through modern times
  • Inspiration - Leaders of revolutions, dreamers, and athletes
  • Invention - Titles about tinkerers, creators, inventors
  • Literature - Stories about the authors behind some of the classics
  • Military - People in the military behind the scenes and center stage
  • Philosophy and Religion - Features several titles in French and English
  • Science and Medicine - Scientists, doctors, and inventors; Einstein, Jane Goodall, and more
  • Sports - Athletes' stories cover more than just the sport for which they're known

Search

These titles about women throughout the ages are a great way to tie in Women's History Month.

Biographies of Women

More Biographies

Share and Engage

Flip your teaching style by letting students choose their own ways to present their research to you, or share with the class. Get away from traditional essays and paper work and use technology to help create games that everyone will want to play!

  • Make a class activity book: Ask students to choose their own people to study and create activities to be collected in a class activity book. Make copies of the sheets into books for students to complete over Spring Break! Many websites are available to help create word searches, crossword puzzles, even dot-to-dots.
  • Play dress up: Get your drama teachers involved and ask your students to dress as their person of choice. For longer lasting drama, get bulletin board paper and ask students to draw life size versions of their subjects. Bonus: you'll have great classroom decorations!
  • Games make everything more fun: Involve the whole class in a round of Jeopardy!, Fact Bingo, or Heads Up!

**This post was updated on April 22, 2020, to reflect a revised offer to continue supporting schools. 

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