Who’s Who?

What are some interesting ways to introduce some of the major players in scientific discoveries so that my students can have a better grasp at who these people were and that they can aspire to be just as innovative and crucial to the world of science?
—T., Ohio

I would often hold a series of student presentations called Who’s Who in [insert subject here]. These consisted of one, 10-minute presentation per week typically on “Wacky Wednesday.” Students were encouraged to be as creative as possible and use all their varied talents. These presentations were often the highlight of the week. I graded their one-page, written biographies which they also shared with the class.

There were many impersonations. Other students ran game shows, created music videos, performed raps, demonstrated experiments, conducted mock interviews, and more. One student set up a dinner table and gave a monologue on “My Dinner with Tesla.”

You can join in the theatrics. I would act out scenes such as: “Gregor Mendel—Party Animal” where I demonstrated the dedication needed to control the pollination of thousands of pea plants; introduced Newton’s laws of motion in an English accent and curly wig; re-enacted the apocryphal cannonball experiments of Galileo. Some were cautionary tales like “Watson and Crick—Brilliant Jerks” which alluded to their treatment of Rosalind Franklin and “Don’t Jump the Gun! The Fleischmann and Pons Cold Fusion Experiment.”

You can have a lot of fun with this. The out-of-the-ordinary things you do in class are much more memorable than the mundane.

Hope this helps!


Image by mohamed_hassan on Pixabay

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