SCIENTISTS WHO BUILT OUR WORLD ONE THOUGHT AT A TIME
Cooperative sharing of ideas increases the ability of all to
excel. This lesson will introduce the history of science through an overview
of the major scientists who have contributed to our understanding of the
world around us. The history of science is made up of people whose curiosity
and persistence resulted in changing our world forever. Scientists learned
from their teachers, evaluated the validity of information, did their own
observations and experiments, then developed their own contributions to
expand the horizons for us. Society always influenced the acceptance or
rejection of new ideas.
Structure of the Atom, #1: The Earliest Models
Structure of the Atom #2: Smaller Than the Smallest
Structure of the Atom #3: The Rutherford Model
Structure of the Atom #4: The Bohr Model
Structure of the Atom #5: Structure of the Atom
Structure of the Atom #6: Wave Mechanical Model
Students will be able to:
- list 12 major scientists discussed in the videos
- state the historical contribution made by each person
- explain concepts developed by each person and its consequences
- list how others influenced each of the twelve scientists
- research one scientist in-depth from the original 12 or supplemental
list attached below
- discuss in detail the person's historical background demonstrate or
present the scientific contributions the scientist made.
To demonstrate experiment on magnetism:
- library resources (preferably including Biology Digest on CD-ROM)
- clothes line, 30 feet
- clothes pin for each student s sign
- colored paper for mounting student work
- Optional: laminating film for signs
Emphasize that humans can learn knowledge in different ways.
Scientists learn from the society they live in, such as from teachers. Curiosity
and persistence lead them to observations, experimentation, and finally
new theories for science. Courage to explore new horizons leads man to differ
from their society's beliefs.
To summarize, we learn from: 1. receive instruction from teachers 2. do
observations 3. perform experiments 4. develop new theories 5. apply new
theories to further developments
List the following on the board to stimulate class discussion: Brainstorm
the names for all the scientists who the students can recall. Ask the students
to recall why each scientist was significant. This will prepare the students
to realize how many scientists they have yet to learn about.
Give each student a Video Note-taking Sheet (see Appendix).
Explain the class will actively view several short video segments highlighting
major scientists and their contributions to scientific theories and development.
To give students a specific responsibility while viewing, ask them to take
notes listing 12 major scientists and make comments identifying each person's
dates and their significance to the fields of science.
Students should also note the dates mentioned for each person. Later discuss
why initially centuries passed between discoveries, then later only decades
went by, to now, when new ideas come faster!
This will take about one class period.
BEGIN video of Structure of the Atom, #1: The Earliest Models at
the image of a Greek with label "the populace." At the scorecard
for Democritus, PAUSE after point #4 and before #5. Ask students
to answer, "atoms make life predictable," as a yes or no question
with a show of hands. RESUME the video.
PAUSE video at daisy illustration (see attached sample) of alchemy's
different interests. Read a few petals, and stress that observation and
experimentation are radical new developments here. RESUME the video.
PAUSE video as each scientist's name appears and at the first of
their contributions to science. RESUME and continue after each fact.
Do this for: Roger Bacon, William Gilbert, Lavoisier, and Proust. Reinforce
note taking of the time periods mentioned.
STOP video at signpost for Dalton.
FAST FORWARD to Structure of the Atom, #2: Smaller Than the Smallest.
RESUME video at signpost for Dalton.
PAUSE at compound atom for taking notes on his contributions and
dates. RESUME the video.
PAUSE video for Farady's and Thompson's facts with dates. RESUME
STOP video when Rutherford is mentioned.
FAST FORWARD to Structure of the Atom, #3: The Rutherford Model.
START video at light bulb going out and voice says, "How does
one study what one cannot see?" Ask students to predict the answer.
PAUSE video at Rutherford's use of polonium for fact gathering. RESUME
STOP video at alpha-man entering an atom.
FAST FORWARD to Structure of the Atom, #4: The Bohr Model.
START video at the Model-A Ford car.
PAUSE video at Bohr's and Planck's names for note-taking of their
contributions and dates. RESUME video.
STOP video at "work must be done," and tell students that
now they have had an overview of how one scientist's work will affect other
Students will use library handouts to gather additional facts,
beyond what they saw on the video, for these and other scientists. They
will interpret facts and demonstrate comprehension in an oral presentation
that may include a re-enactment of a significant milestone in their chosen
Note how many women are included and theorize why this happens. What was
the role of women in these different time periods? Consider the lack of
antibiotics and surgery during childbirth as a major cause of female mortality.
Why are these developments portrayed as so European? Brainstorm with students
to consider: how people traveled, and that travel followed the major trade
routes of those times. Consider the development of the printing press in
1415 A.D. in the spread of knowledge. Who could afford travel, academics
Have students consider that they now have the advantages of a wider base
of information than was available in the past. With advantages of modern
medicine, and education with print and electronic books, now is the time
their research is to begin in the Library.
Have students: Conduct resource-based research in their school's
Library Information Center on major scientists, using the attached handouts
Do written outline and oral presentation of research.
Do a class or library "clothes pin" time line as a display. Different
colored paper represents different fields of science, such as green for
botany, red for physics, yellow for astronomy. Each sign displayed includes:
scientist's name, date of birth and death, and an illustration of his/her
major contribution to scientific advancement.
Present models of these famous experiments either as experiments or as three-dimensional
displays to illustrate the theory or major experiment within the context
of the scientist s historical period.
Present a summary introducing their scientist to the class, using their
contribution to the class time line and their model.
Imagine and discuss different machines that could have been built upon the
out-dated theories. Build sample models from recycled trash.
Research and write about inventions, based on these scientists
theories, which we use today.
Learn more about careers in science by researching Vocational Biographies
and Lovejoy's College Guide to write a college of choice for more information.
Scholastic has a web page that contains a lesson plan for career research.
Invite a college professor in science to be a guest speaker about their
program and relationship with industry for applications of new research.
Scientists who work for local companies are also excellent guest speakers.
Use the World Wide Web to dialog and interview living scientists. Attached
are addresses for the World Wide Web for scientists.
Women in Science video would serve as a basis to study the contributions
of women in various fields of science. Speculate on the courage it took
to be pioneers in their times. What stereotypes did they face? Were they
given recognition for their work? What made them continue?
Examine the influence of wars on the acceleration of scientific research.
Consider such wars as: World War I and II, the Cuban exodus when Castro
came to power, Russia after the fall of communism, Bosnia and the effect
on the migration of trained scientists. What currently happens to foreign
students once they graduate? Do they return to their homelands or continue
in the United States? Why?
Speculate on the future of science. What developments are used in science
fiction television shows and movies? What areas of science are expected
to expand? Compare and contrast to H. G. Well s War of the Worlds. Did science
develop as expected? Why did such developments succeed or fail?
Using household trash, create your invention of the future and explain what
it does and why. What would happen if you built your machines on the wrong
theories or information?
Master Teacher: Jean Newcomb
Lesson Plan Database
Thirteen Ed Online