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Lesson Plans Archive

Science: Grades 6-12

TOPIC: The Five Most Influential Scientists In History


AUTHOR: Mary C. Lomax

SCHOOL/DISTRICT: Clark Pleasant Middle School, Clark Pleasant Community Schools

TIME FRAME: 5 days


  1. Development of research, reading, and technological skills.
  2. Gathering and analyzing databases.
  3. Categorizing and scrolling to find relevant data.
  4. Teamwork and sharing of information, "People skills."
  5. Making choices.



Days 1-3:

Assign: Help students locate the The ACCESS INDIANA TLC Scientists Index and Encarta Online to be researched. Students will research references for the scientists, and, on 3 x 5 cards, will make brief notes of each scientist's contribution to mankind.

When you have completed your research, compile a list of 5 of the most influential contributors. Tell briefly why you chose that person. Share and discuss these people with your parents. Get their opinions, but you make the final choice.
















Days 4 and 5:

Each student will read to the class his/her list of the five most influential scientists. A tally will be kept for each scientist chosen. After all student lists have been presented, a class list will be made from the tallies.


Ask each student to give a subjective evaluation of what (s)he learned. Give 10 points for written evaluation. Give 10 points for the note cards and the list of the five most influential scientists.

Extensions/Notes: Choose one scientist from the list, and write a report about him/her.


John James Audubon was a naturalist, ornithologist, and artist known for his realistic portrayal of American wildlife.

William Henry Gates III, an American business executive, developed a version of the basic computer programming language for the first PC. His dream is to have a computer on the desktop of every home in the world.

Robert Hutchings Goddard's work was basic to the development of the weaponry by German rocket engineers during the 1930s. He laid the foundation for our contemporary space exploration.

Jane Goodall discovered behavior patterns of chimpanzees' ability to use straws for extracting termites from nests. Her studies of the behavior of animals have been basic to the study of human behaviors.

Charles Goodyear discovered the process of vulcanization that is still the basis of rubber manufacturing industry and the tires for our vehicles today. An interesting note, his discovery like many others was not significant during his life time. He died in poverty.

Thomas Graham discovered the method of dialysis for separating colloids from true solutions. Dialysis keeps people alive when their kidneys stop functioning.

Johann Gregor Mendel's experiments resulted in the laws of heredity, dominance and recessiveness. Many medical advancements are based on knowledge of hereditary traits and the passing on of certain disabling diseases.

William Bradford Shockley along with Houser Brattain and John Bardeen developed the transistor that enabled man to go to the moon and begin the development of many inventions in the electronic field.

Karl Ziegler developed plastics and other commercially important synthetic compounds.

Vladimir Kosma Zworykin is known for the development of the TV camera and picture tube that contributes to both the transmission and the reception of TV.

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