Utah Lesson Plans
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Upper Elementary, Middle School, High School
Ebsco, Gale, UOL, UOL3-5, UOL6-8, UOL9-12, Uolela, uollesson
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
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Education Standards

George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver


This resource is a Language Arts student activity that utilizes Utah's Online Library resources - specifically, EBSCO's Biography Reference Center, Gale's Biography in Context, and Gale's Virtual Reference Library - to help students research and read about George Washington Carver.

About Utah's Online Library

Utah's Online Library provides Utah educators and students free access to high-quality reference collections such as EBSCO, Gale Reference Collection, World Book, eMedia, and LearningExpress Library.

This activity was designed to help educators utilize this amazing resource in their classrooms.

Note: Utah educators and students visiting Utah's Online Library from a school computer should be automatically authenticated. When at home, students must use the home access login which their teacher or school media specialist can provide. Utah educators can use either their my.uen login or the home access login.


Essential Question: Why is George Washington Carver sometimes referred to as a "Renaissance Man"?
Educator. Scientist. Botanist. Inventor. Researcher. Artist. Consultant. Author. Farmer. George Washington Carver was many things.

He was born around 1862 in Diamond Grove, Missouri. He was a slave and was owned by the Carver family. The Carvers had emigrated from Germany and were having difficulty farming their homestead in Missouri. The Carvers claimed that they did not approve of slavery; nevertheless, they purchased slaves, Giles and Mary, to help with farm work. Mary gave birth to many children, most of whom did not survive. It is thought that probably only two sons, James and George, grew to maturity. Not too long after George was born, he and Mary were stolen by thieves who planned to sell them to someone in the south. The Carver family were able to find George, but Mary was gone forever, and George never saw her again. The father, Giles, disappeared, and little is known of him.

After slavery ended, the Carver family helped George learn to read and write. They sent him to school and encouraged him to learn. George had always been interested in the plants and flowers that grew on the Carver farm. George eventually graduated from high school and then earned a bachelor's degree in botany from Iowa State College. He continued on and earned a master's degree in science. He began teaching at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Booker T. Washington was the president of Tuskegee and helped advance George's career as a teacher and scientist. George provided invaluable farming advice to farmers in Alabama.

George Washington Carver is best known for his work with peanuts and sweet potatoes. He helped develop new kinds of peanuts and created many products using peanuts such as ink, glue, shampoo, dye, etc. He taught and worked at the Tuskegee Institute for more than 40 years.

Leonardo de Vinci was the original "Renaissance Man". Have students research both George Washington Carver and Leonardo de Vinci and compare and contrast their lives and contributions.

Utah's Online Library is almost always the best choice for student research. Have students start with EBSCO's Biography Reference Center and Gale's Biography in Context databases. Gale's Virtual Reference Library can add additional information; encourage students to limit their searches by using the menu area on the right and choosing topic overview, critical essay, biography, primary source, excerpt, etc.

Curriculum Connections:

Language Arts - 5th Grade
Secondary - Language Arts - 6th Grade
Secondary - Language Arts - 7th Grade
Secondary - Language Arts - 8th Grade
Secondary - Language Arts - 9-10
Secondary - Language Arts - 11-12