Scientists Unit


Science and Scientists, An Introduction to Science for Elementary Students

This unit is ©Copyright 2008 by Cindy Downes. All rights reserved. Permission is given to homeschooling parents to use this unit free of charge in their own homeschool only and to classroom teachers to use in their own classroom only. This unit may not be reprinted in any other form, for any other purpose (commercial or otherwise) without permission from Cindy Downes. Contact her at

This unit is based on The Checklist and is designed to be completed in 16 weeks, completing one lesson per week; however, you can customize it to any length, depending upon how much material you cover and how long you take to cover it. Read over General Directions for Cindy's Unit Studies for information on how to teach Cindy's units.

The goal of this unit is to give students a brief overview of the major science fields. I suggest using it between 2nd and 5th grade; however, it could be used as a supplement for other grade levels. In each unit, you and your students will read about two scientists who worked in the field, as well as read about two specific topics related to the field. (You can borrow the suggested books from the library or purchase them by clicking on blue links.) You and your students will also research the internet to learn more about each field and the related topics. Finally, your students will complete some activities related to the topics.

Note: Two additional books that go well with this unit are 100 Scientist Who Shaped World History by John Hudson Tiner and Men of Science, Men of God by Henry M. Morris.

Unit 1: Astronomy (Planets, Space)

Lesson 1: Tycho Brahe (Sweden, 1546-1601) — Astronomer


Tycho Brahe: Mapping the Heavens by William J. Boerst.

There’s No Place Like Space! All About Our Solar System by Tish Rabe.

Website Research:

Brahe: Tycho Brahe

Astronomy: Solar System Simulator.


Tycho Brahe Color Page.

Solar System Coloring Book and coloring page.

Astronomy Activities: (Solar System)

Play Solar System Switch-a-Roo.

Make a Solar System from round foam balls or use this 3-D Solar System Kit.

Planet Minuet (song).

Recipe: Moon Rock Candy

Lesson 2: Galilei Galileo (Italy, 1564-1642) — Telescope


Along Came Galileo by Jeanne Bendick. All ages.

Galileo: The Genius Who Faced the Inquisition by Philip Steele.

Looking Through a Telescope by Linda Bullock.

Website Research:

Galileo: Galileo Project.

Telescope: The Telescope


Photos of Antique Telescopes: Antique Telescopes.

Build a simple telescope (telescope2) or purchase a Telescope.

Galileo for Kids by by Richard Panchyk. Activities for all ages.

Galileo, On the Shoulder of Giants - DVD (rent or purchase)

Unit 2: Biology (Human Anatomy)

Lesson 1: Elizabeth Blackwell (New York, 1821-1910), 1st Woman Physician


Elizabeth Blackwell: Girl Doctor by Joanne Landers Henry

Website Research:

Elizabeth Blackwell, biography.

How the Body Works, Interactive lesson.



Make a macaroni skeleton or put together a Skeleton Puzzle

Draw outline of your child's body on butcher paper, draw in bones, and label major bones.

Draw outline of your child's body on butcher paper and label major organs.

Skeleton Coloring Page or Interactive Skeleton.

The Human Skeleton, interactive review game.

Life Processes and living things activities.

Them Not-so-dry Bones (song)

Lesson 2: Hippocrates (Greece, 460?-377? BC)—Father of Medicine, Hippocratic Oath


Hippocrates by Jim Whiting.

Website Research:

Hippocrates, Biography and audio biography.

Hippocratic Oath.


Write your own "Hippocratic Oath"

Fat Facts Webquest - online learning about healthy eating.

Dole 5 A Day Activities.

Food Labels info.

Unit 3: Botany (Plants, Trees, Flowers)

Lesson 1: Luther Burbank (Massachusetts/California, 1849-1926)—Botanist: Potato


Here a Plant, There a Plant, Everywhere a Plant, Plant by Robert M. Quackenbush.

Potatoes by Melanie Mitchell.

Website Research:

Luther Burbank Virtual Museum.


Fun horticulture activities for kids.

Lesson 2: George Washington Carver (Missouri/Alabama, 1864-1943)—Scientist and Teacher, Peanuts


The Forty-Acre Swindle (George Washington Carver) by Dave Jackson

Website Research:

Learn about peanuts with lesson plans and worksheets.

Peanuts from Kids Gardening.


Peanut Crafts and Games for kids.

Peanut activities for kids.

More peanut activities.

Unit 4: Chemistry

Lesson 1: Robert Bunsen (German, 1811-99)—Bunsen Burner


Chemistry by Ann Newmark

Website Research:

Robert Bunsen, biography.

Chemistry for Kids (Chem4Kids).


Go on a chemistry scavenger hunt.

Solve a mystery using chemistry.

Chemistry experiments. Check out a library book or use Science Wiz: Chemistry.

Silly song: O Chemistree (sung to the tune of Oh Christmas Tree)


O Chemistree, O chemistry
I have so much to learn from thee.
O Chemistree, O chemistry
How intricate your branches.
The elements we all must learn;
The compounds that we Bunsen burn.
O Chemistree, O chemistry
My grades are not a catastrophe

O Chemistree, O chemistry
Mass and weight and density.
O Chemistree, O chemistry
Specific heat capacity
Sodium perchlorate
And calcium diphosphate
O Chemistree, O chemistry
I’ll pass you with, more than a “C.”
— words by Paige Davis (
edited by Cindy)

Lesson 2: Gabriel Fahrenheit (Poland, 1686-1736)—Fahrenheit Scale of Measuring Temperature


The Fahrenheit and Celsius Story by Lynette Catalano

Website Research:

Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit, biography and audio biography.


Fahrenheit-Celsius Converter.

Practice reading a thermometer. Take temperatures of food, family members, outside pond, etc. or use this webpage.

Unit 5: Physics (Invention & Electicity)

Lesson 1: Thomas Alva Edison (Ohio, 1847-1931)—Inventor


Thomas Edison by Sue Guthridge or The Story of Thomas Edison by Margaret Cousins.

Website Research:

Thomas Edison, biography and Thomas Edison biography.

Read about inventors on Inventor of the Week. Inventor's handbook and games on this site.

Smithsonian Science and Technology


Edison quiz (select Edison from list)

Edison motion pictures.

Energy Quest activities.

Invention at Play.

Lesson 2: Benjamin Franklin (Massachusetts, 1706-1790)— Electricity


Benjamin Franklin: Live Wire by Janet Benge or A Picture Book of Ben Franklin by David A. Adler or Who was Ben Franklin? by Dennis Fradin.

Website Research:

Ben Franklin and electricity (audio)

Franklin's Kite (video)

Lightning Safety Quiz.

Kite history.


Electricity and Magnetism Experiments.

How to make a kite.

AC/DC current simulation.

Electric experiments online or purchase kit, Electro Wiz: Electricity.

Electricity (song)

Unit 6: Geology (Rocks & Minerals)

Lesson 1: Friedrich Mohs (Germany, 1773-1839)—Mohs’ Scale for Hardness


Friedrich Mohs, biography.

Rocks and Minerals by Ann O. Squire

Website Research:

This Planet Really Rocks.


Mineral Identification (pdf document from The National Science Digital Library)

Student worksheet for mineral testing.

Rock and Gems and Minerals (song)

Lesson 2: Dr. Charles F. Richter (Ohio, 1900-1985)—Earthquakes and Richter Scale


Earthquakes by Seymour Simon

Website Research:

Rock Shakey Ground (includes activities)

What is Plate Techtonics?/

How does a Seismograph work?/

Richtar Scale

How do Earthquakes Work?

Interesting Earthquake Facts.


Virtual Earthquake.

Fault animations.

Flyover the Andreas Fault (animation)

Richter Scale Activity.

Magnitude of Richter Scale Activity.

Earthquake coloring pages.

Plate Techonics Game

Unit 7: Meteorology (Weather)

Lesson 1: Evangelista Torricelli (Italy, 1608-1647), Barometer


What is a barometer? InfoPlease.

The Aneroid Barometer.

Website Research:

How a Barometer works.



Weather and Painting lesson plan & activity.

Make your own Barometer and How to Make a Barometer.

Weather experiments.

Weather (song)

Lesson 2: Sir Francis Galton (England, 1822-1911)— Weather Map Symbols


Sir Francis Galton biography.

Weather Basics from Weather Dude.

Learn about weather maps.

Weather maps and symbols.

Website Research:

Weather Instruments.


Weather forecasting activity.

Weather Symbols worksheet.

Weather symbols and Weather Symbol Concentration.

Weather Games.

Weather songs.

Take a weather quiz.

Unit 8: Zoology (Animal Life) & Oceanography (Oceans & Ocean Life)

Lesson 1: Carolus Linnaeus (Sweden, 1707-1778)—Classification System


Carolus Linnaeus biography.

Website Research:

Linnaeus Classification of Kingdoms and sample classification page.


Make a classification notebook. Collect pictures of the animal world and classify them according to type of organism. (animal classification)

Printable animal classification chart.

Animal printables.

Take the animal classification quiz. Another quiz.

Mammals (song)

Lesson 2: Jacques Cousteau (France, 1910- )—Oceanographer


Jacques Cousteau biography.

Website Research:

All about oceans.



Journal about the ocean.

Complete the Ocean Creature Webquest.

Ocean activities. More ocean activities.

Ocean printables. More ocean printables.

What's in the Ocean (Song)

Recipe: Make an edible aquarium to eat!

Be sure to check off the appropriate topics in The Checklist when you are done!




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