Lesson plan

Chemistry Is Marie Curie

Marie Curie’s monumental achievements in chemistry and physics are remarkable. In this lesson, your students will read two accounts of her life, integrate the details, and assess the importance of having more than one source of information.
Grade Subject View aligned standards

Students will be able to discuss and cite information from two texts on the same topic.

(5 minutes)
  • Ask students to consider the work and roles that women are seldom recognized for doing, or which they have yet to do. (This could include playing football for the NFL, playing baseball for the MLB, playing basketball for the NBA, or serving as president of the United States.)
  • Say, “Imagine you were watching a football or a baseball game and all of a sudden a woman started playing on your favorite team. What would you think? Would it be shocking? Would you appreciate the change?"
  • Tell students that today they are going to learn about a woman who did something that had never been done by a woman, and it was just as shocking at the time as it might be today to spot a woman playing for a professional football team.
  • Explain to students that this woman, Marie Curie, was a pioneering scientist who won two Nobel Peace Prizes, one in physics and another in chemistry.
(10 minutes)
  • Read the student objective and define cite (prove your answer with information from the text), text (material we read to get information), and evidence (proof found in the text).
  • Display the All About Marie Curie worksheet and read it aloud one time.
  • Reread the text, this time underlining important facts.
  • Model how to choose important information from the paragraphs to add to the chart labelled All About Marie Curie. (For instance, in paragraph three, “I notice it mentions she worked in a lab with her husband and she discovered two new metals. I know those discoveries led to her Nobel Peace Prize, so they are important. I will write those on the chart.")
(15 minutes)
  • Ask students to show a thumbs up or thumbs down if they think the fact is worth keeping as they read the For the last two paragraphs in the All About Curie worksheet. Write those facts on the chart as the student reads.
  • Have students to cite the text to explain their reasoning in complete sentences. (Tip: Provide sentence stems as necessary: “I think this fact is important because ____________.")
  • Distribute the Marie Curie worksheet and have students read it with partners, making sure Partner A reads the odd-numbered paragraphs and Partner B reads the even-numbered paragraphs.
  • Have student partnerships share their underlined facts as you write them on the Marie Curie chart paper. As you ask a partnership to share all their facts for one paragraph, allow students to chime in if they disagree.
  • Compare the Marie Curie chart to the already completed All About Marie Curie chart, and highlight the details that occur in both of the texts.
  • Ask students general questions about Marie Curie that require them to use information from both of the texts. (For instance, "What activities did Pierre and Marie enjoy together outside of the laboratory? What machine did she invent that helped in World War I?")
  • Remind the students that sometimes they may need more than one text on a subject to more thoroughly discuss a topic.
(12 minutes)
  • Ask students to answer this question in partners and cite the specific text: "What are some of the effects of her discoveries in the laboratory?"
  • Distribute lined paper to each student. Request students write their answers to the following questions on the paper:
    • "What is a Nobel Peace Prize?"
    • "Why is it so noteworthy that Marie Curie won the Nobel Peace Prize?"
    • "Which of her children won a Nobel Peace Prize as well?"
    • "Did the death of Pierre stop her research?"
  • Require students to cite the text by including the title of the article where they found the answer. A sentence frame could be, "In the artcle ____________, the author said____________."


  • Provide sentence stems for the discussion portions that can be used in students' writing during the independent portion. (For instance, “In ____________, the author mentions ____________. I think ____________ because ____________.") Ask students to share their answers aloud before writing them down.
  • Provide a list of key terms students can use in their writing. Use the worksheets to gather some key terms.
  • Alllow students to reread the texts in partnerships.


  • Challenge students to create questions that come from both of the texts and ask their partners those questions, in addition to the ones you provide.
(8 minutes)
  • Consider the oral responses to the questions and the students’ underlining of the details.
  • Monitor partner discussions to see if they cite the text for their supporting evidence.
  • Review the content of the writing in the independent section as a formative asssessment of their ability to gain information from texts and answer how and why questions.
  • Ask students to share their paragraphs aloud. Choose volunteers to praise something about the students' paragraph.
(5 minutes)
  • Discuss student impressions of the two texts. Ask them which of the texts provided more information.
  • Ask students, “Were both texts necessary to understand Marie Curie’s influence on science? Why or why not?”

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