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 

Summer science: building a reptile incubator

20150320_114824James and I love animals. We incorporate all five of our pets into our homeschool program. For example,  when our boa constrictor got an infection in his throat, we took our students to the vet and allowed them to observe the examination, diagnosis, and treatment plan. The students took in the putrid smell of infection. They looked through a microscope into the snake’s eyes. Back home, James taught them how to give our snake an injection.

We use our two bearded dragons for discussions such as characteristics of reptiles and animal habitats.


Recently, our female dragon began to show signs of pregnancy.  To prepare for future lessons and discussions, we adjusted our plans to include talks with our students about reptiles that lay eggs and those, such as our boa, that give birth to live babies. We also introduced some new science vocabulary words. See list below.

Next, we built our own incubator: NOTE On our first try, we built an aquarium incubator. all of the eggs died. This polystyrene cooler works much better. 



  • 1 polystyrene cooler with a tight fitting lid
  • 1 heat mat roughly the size of the base of the cooler (buy two for larger projects)
  • thermostat
  • thermometer
  • humidity gauge
  • pencil or screw driver
  • plastic cup or tray


  1. Find an area with moderate temperatures and flat surface.
  2. Position the heat mat on the base of the polystyrene cooler so that it lies flat and covers most of the area (you can use two for larger projects).
  3. Make a groove in the side of the cooler where the wires from the heat mat and the thermometer can rest and you can still place the lid on tightly.
  4. Insert the wooden dowels into the cooler to create a shelf to set the incubation (egg) tubs on.
  5. Put a little lukewarm water into the plastic cup or tray and place it inside the base.
  6. Add the thermometer, adjust the temperature to about 84 degrees, place the lid on tightly, and switch everything on.
  7. Allow an hour or two for the temperature and humidity to get to the right levels and make adjustments to the number of holes in the lid as necessary. More holes will lessen the amount of humidity.
  8. Observe regularly. Add water as necessary. Allow 60 – 80 days for the eggs to hatch.



  1. herpetology:  the study of reptiles.
  2. incubator: an apparatus used to hatch eggs.
  3. reptile: A cold blooded or (ectothermic) animal with scales, lays soft shelled eggs and
    breathes by means of lungs.
  4. amphibian: A cold blooded (or ectothermic) organism such as a frog, toad or salamander,
    adapted by structure to spending part of its life in water and part of its life on land. (breath
    from gills during part of life, and lungs as adults.
  5. habitat: a place in an ecosystem where an organism normally lives.
  6. ecosystem: an integrated unit of a biological community, its physical environment and
  7. environment: the sum of conditions affecting an organism, including all living and
    nonliving things in an area, such as plants, animals, water, soil, weather, landforms and air.
  8. food chain: transfer of energy through various stages as a result of feeding patterns of a
    series of organisms.
  9. food web: the interconnected feeding relationships in a food chain found in a particular place
    and time.
  10. predator: an organism that preys on and consumes animals; usually an animal.
  11. prey: an organism caught or hunted for food by another organism.
  12. adaptation: a characteristic of an organism that increases its chance of survival in its
  13. camouflage: the coloration and/or shape of an organism which allows that organism to blend in with its surroundings (also known as cryptic coloration).
  14. albino: an organism lacing pigmentation.
  15. vertebrates: an animal that has a vertebral column.
  16. pigmentation: having pigments or color.
  17. herbivore: an animal that feeds on plants.

For an excellent article on the reproductive behavior of bearded dragons, click here.


YouTube offers some excellent videos on handling and placing the eggs in a mixture of vermiculite and sand.