Who Was George Washington Carver?

George Washington Carver was a world-famous chemist who made important agricultural discoveries and inventions. His research on peanuts, sweet potatoes, and other products helped poor southern farmers vary their crops and improve their diets. A monument showing Carver as a boy was the first national memorial erected in honor of an African American.

George W Carver laboratory

Here is a free resource! based on the book Who Was George Washington Carver, by Jim Gigliotti. You can use this as a Study Guide designed to help students gain deeper knowledge or as a Quiz to test their knowledge after they read this book.

Vocabulary: Write the definition for each of the following words.

orphan: _____________________________________________________

immigrant: ______________________________________________________________________________

bushwhacker: ____________________________________________________________________________

Amendment: _____________________________________________________________________________

nursery: __________________________________________________________________________________

horticulture: _____________________________________________________________________________

chemist: _________________________________________________________________________________

botany: ___________________________________________________________________________________

nutrients: _________________________________________________________________________________

legacy: ____________________________________________________________________________________

Questions: Please answer the following questions in this format:

statue of Carver as a boy
The boy Carver statue is a nine-foot high bronze statue by Robert Amendola. It depicts George Washington Carver as a boy and is mounted on a large limestone rock. The boy Carver statue was dedicated at the George Washington Carver National Monument of July 17, 1960. 
The George Washington Carver National Monument near Diamond, Missouri, was approved by Congress in 1943. It was the first national memorial to an African American. The chief sponsor of the legislation to create the monument was Missouri native Harry S. Truman. He was a senator from Missouri at the time. A dedication ceremony of the monument was held on July 13, 1953. 
[SHS 007935; Massie-Missouri Resources Commission photo]
  • Write complete sentences in your own words. Do not copy straight from the book. 
  • Restate the question. For example, to answer Question #1, you might write, George got the nickname “the Plant Doctor” after he… . 
  • Begin each sentence with a capital letter.
  • End each sentence with punctuation. 

 

  1. How did George get the nickname, “the Plant Doctor?”
  2. Who are Moses and Susan?
  3. Who are Mary and Jim?
  4. Describe Missouri’s role in the Civil War.
  5. What is the importance of the 13th Amendment? 
  6. Re-read pages 14-15. Write a paragraph and summarize (briefly re-tell) what those two pages are talking about.
  7. What significant (important) event happened to George when he was 8 years old?
  8. Why did George refer to God as “Creator”?
  9. Describe Mariah Watkins.
  10. Why didn’t Mariah Watkins like it when George said, “I’m Carver’s George”?
  11. Why did George move to Neosho?
  12. Compare Neosho to Diamond Grove.
  13. What was the name of George’s school in Neosho?
  14. Re-read page 41. Write a paragraph that describes Jim Crow Laws. **Remember: a paragraph is not one long sentence strung together with the word “and.” Write 3-4 complete sentences. 
  15. Read pages 46-47. Describe the house that George built.
  16. What was the Homestead Act of 1862? Who signed it into law?
  17. Describe George’s experience at Simpson College. Why did he leave? 
  18. What was the “Atlanta Compromise”? Who wrote it? How did black people feel about it?
  19. Read page 61. Write a short paragraph about Booker T. Washington.
  20. Why did Booker T. Washington want George to attend Tuskegee?
  21. Describe the booklets that George wrote for slaves.
  22. What was the Jesup Wagon?
  23. What did George say after Booker T. Washington died?
  24. Why did George want farmers to rotate their crops?
  25. Describe George’s famous peanut booklet. Why did the Royal Society of Arts in London honor him for this booklet?
  26. What was George’s goal when he started the George Washington Carver Foundation at Tuskegee? 

Internet activity: use the Internet to learn more about whooping cough. Describe what it is. 

On your own: 

  1. Write a 2-page essay titled The Legacy of Dr. George Washington Carver. Describe his legacy in 3-5 paragraphs. Support your essay with plenty of details and description of his great work. 
  2. Create a “How to” brochure

George Washington Carver created a booklet called How to Grow the Peanut, and 105 Ways of Preparing it for Human Consumption.

Create a tri-fold “how to” brochure about something that you love. 

  1. The cover should be a photo of you involved with the topic. For example, if you are writing a “How to” about playing the piano, you will be in a photo playing the piano. If you are writing about how to bake a cake, your photo might include you in the kitchen baking a cake. 
  2. The inside pages should include the following: 1) an introduction and something interesting about the topic; 2) “How to” details about the topic; 3) other suggestions on how to use the product.
  3. The back page should include Acknowledgements that thank people, such as Mom and Dad, who helped you complete the brochure. This page should also and References, such as books or Internet sources that you used. Books and Internet sources should be in MLA format. 

Thank you for visiting our blog, TAMS and ED Home schoolers. Feel free to copy and paste this lesson and use it as a supplement to your Reading, Writing, or Social Studies lessons.

For more lessons that emphasize African Americans and their great contributions to education, follow my blog. Also, like us on Facebook, TAMS and ED Homeschool. Visit our website at http://www.tamsanded.com 

Poetry analysis: “Equipment” by Edgar A. Guest

I am constantly seeking ways to help my students develop a love for poetry. I strongly believe that poetry helps children develop not only an interest in reading but also a love for writing. Unlike books and essays, poems are short and many of the same devices used in poetry are used in prose. A line in poetry is similar to a sentence in prose. A stanza is similar to a paragraph. A simile is used in both poetry and prose. Like prose, poems are often written from a certain point of view, follow a certain genre, and tell memorable stories. 

I use a variety of tools including graphic organizers, P.L.O.R.E., read aloud, read silently, reader’s theater, memorization, and even costumes to help my students develop a love for poetry.  

The poem, Equipment, by Edgar A. Guest is a student favorite because of the positive message. It’s also universal, although Guest addresses the “lad,” which is mostly thought of as a young male, the poem actually has universal appeal that both male and female can embrace. 

Edgar Albert Guest was born in 1881 in Birmingham, England. He moved to American when he was 10 and became a naturalized citizen soon after. He became known as the “People’s Poet” because of the optimistic nature of his life’s work and his popularity.  His poem, Equipment, was Dr.  George Washington Carver’s favorite poem. The reading below is of Dr. Carver who  read this poem it at an audio station at the George Washington Carver Museum.

Equipment

By Edgar A. Guest

Figure it out for yourself, my lad,
You’ve all that the greatest of men have had,
Two arms, two hands, two legs, two eyes,
And a brain to use if you would be wise.
With this equipment they all began,
So start for the top and say ‘I can.’

Look them over, the wise and great,
They take their food from a common plate
And similar knives and forks they use,
With similar laces they tie their shoes,
The world considers them brave and smart.
But you’ve all they had when they made their start.

You can triumph and come to skill,
You can be great if only you will,
You’re well equipped for what fight you choose,
You have legs and arms and a brain to use,
And the man who has risen, great deeds to do
Began his life with no more than you.

You are the handicap you must face,
You are the one who must choose your place,
You must say where you want to go.
How much you will study the truth to know,
God has equipped you for life, But He
Lets you decide what you want to be.

Courage must come from the soul within,
The man must furnish the will to win,
So figure it out for yourself, my lad,
You were born with all that the great have had,
With your equipment they all began.
Get hold of yourself, and say: ‘I can.’ 

Analysis: In this poem, Edgar A. Guest speaks to young people. He challenges them to look within and believe in themselves. He explains that God has given them all that they need to succeed. He explains that they are no different than the “greatest of men.” All that they is needed is the will to dig deep, use what God has given them, and achieve great heights. 

STANZA 1:

  • This poem is written in couplets (a pair of lines of the same length that rhyme and complete one thought). In stanza 1, there are three couplets that challenge the “lad” to figure it out by realizing that he/she has all of the same “equipment” to succeed, just like the “greatest of men.”
  • The tone (poet’s attitude) of this poem is one of determined optimism. In the first stanza, he optimistically insists that you, we, the “lad” is quite capable. She must figure it out, use her brain, and and begin with two words: “I can.”

Figure it out for yourself, my lad,
You’ve all that the greatest of men have had,
Two arms, two hands, two legs, two eyes,
And a brain to use if you would be wise.
With this equipment they all began,
So start for the top and say ‘I can.’

STANZA 2:

  • He begins by telling the lad to “Look them over” and he uses an appositive (clarifying information that’s set off with a comma) to explain who “them” are.  
  • He uses everyday examples to draw parallels between “them” and the “lad” and he uses the word “similar” twice to emphasize his point.
  • He also uses the conjunction “but” to to bring the “brave and smart” back to the beginning when they made their start, when they weren’t great, when they were students in school, just like the “lad.”  

Look them over, the wise and great,
They take their food from a common plate
And similar knives and forks they use,
With similar laces they tie their shoes,
The world considers them brave and smart.
But you’ve all they had when they made their start.

STANZAS 3 & 4:

  • “You are the handicap you face” is a metaphor that tells the student that she creates her own obstacles. She must face her own doubts and overcome her fears. 
  • He uses anaphora (repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive lines) to shift the focus to “you.” His goal is to get the individual to see herself as one who can do it. In Stanza 1, he instructed her to say it. Now, he is drilling the point that she is equipped, she is able, and she absolutely can. 
  • In Stanza 4, he instructs the student to get out of her own way, speak truth over her life, study hard, and believe that God has equipped her to succeed.

You can triumph and come to skill,
You can be great if only you will,
You’re well equipped for what fight you choose,
You have legs and arms and a brain to use,
And the man who has risen, great deeds to do
Began his life with no more than you.

You are the handicap you must face,
You are the one who must choose your place,
You must say where you want to go.
How much you will study the truth to know,
God has equipped you for life, But He
Lets you decide what you want to be.

STANZA 5

  • He uses strong words like “courage” and “soul” and “will” to spark determination within the lad. 
  • He repeats his opening line, “figure it out for yourself, my lad,” to remind the lad that, ultimately, she must put in the work in order to succeed. 
  • He closes by repeating another line that places emphasis on the importance of speaking positive words to and about ourselves. 

Courage must come from the soul within,
The man must furnish the will to win,
So figure it out for yourself, my lad,
You were born with all that the great have had,
With your equipment they all began.
Get hold of yourself, and say: ‘I can.’ 

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