George Washington Carver - Teacher Created Materials

George Washington Carver - Teacher Created Materials



Carver Agriculture


George Washington Carver was born a slave in

1864. After the Civil War, he gained his freedom

and became a very important scientist. Carver

was a botanist who invented methods of crop

rotation and researched ways to use plants for our

benefit. He made many important discoveries

and dedicated his life to his

work. In fact, he offered

most of his work to the world

for free, believing that his

discoveries were meant for the

good of everyone.



TCM 10590

George Washington Carver Agriculture Pioneer Macceca






Stephanie Macceca




Agriculture Pioneer

Stephanie Macceca

Life Science Readers:

George Washington Carver

Agriculture Pioneer

Editorial Director

Dona Herweck Rice

Associate Editor

Joshua BishopRoby


Sharon Coan, M.S.Ed.

Publishing Credits

Science Contributor

Sally Ride Science

Creative Director

Lee Aucoin

Illustration Manager

Timothy J. Bradley


Rachelle Cracchiolo, M.S.Ed

Science Consultants

Thomas R. Ciccone, B.S., M.A.Ed.

Chino Hills High School

Dr. Ron Edwards,

DePaul University

Table of Contents

George Washington Carver............................................... 4

College Life..................................................................... 14

Professional Life............................................................. 16

A Great Teacher and a Movable School.......................... 20

The Peanut Man............................................................. 22

Geobiologist: Hope Jahren............................................. 26

Appendices..................................................................... 28

Lab: Transportation Within Plants.................... 28

Glossary............................................................ 30

Index................................................................. 31

Sally Ride Science.............................................. 32

Image Credits.................................................... 32

Teacher Created Materials Publishing

5301 Oceanus Drive

Huntington Beach, CA 92649-1030

ISBN 978-0-7439-0590-9

© 2008 Teacher Created Materials Publishing

Reprinted 2012

2 3

George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver was born a slave in 1864. After

the Civil War, he became an important scientist. He was the

first black man to receive a graduate degree

in agriculture.

Carver was a skilled botanist.

He became famous for his work

with peanuts and other plants.

He used them to make new

products. Carver was also a

great teacher. He taught both

students and farmers croprotation

methods. That meant

they would change the crops

they planted each season.

It let the soil rest between

plantings to keep it healthy.

Carver was a great scientist,

but he was humble, too. He was

offered a lot of money for his

discoveries. But he never accepted

it. He believed the plants and their

secrets belonged to everyone.



A peanut



a peanut.

George Washington Carver

in 1915

Many Uses for the Peanut

Carver may be best known for the

detailed and amazing work he did

with the peanut. He found over 300

uses for it!


4 5

What Is an Abolitionist?

For many years, slavery was legal

in North America. Abolitionists

were people who believed that

slavery was wrong and should

be illegal. The word comes from

abolish, which means to destroy.

That’s what they wanted to do to


A Big Reward

The reward Moses Carver offered

for finding his slaves was worth

$1,100. That was a lot of money

for the time!

Born a Slave

Carver had a brother named Jim. Their mother’s name

was Mary, and she was a slave. She was bought by a German

couple named Moses and Susan Carver. They did not approve

of slavery, but still they used slaves as workers for their farm.

The Carvers treated Mary and her children well, though.

Slave raiders kidnapped Carver and his mother when he

was just an infant. John Bentley, the Carvers’ neighbor, took

the job of finding them. Moses offered a reward for their safe

return. He would give 40 acres of prime timberland and one of

his racehorses.

Slaves were used to harvest cotton and other crops.

Carver was found abandoned

along the road in Arkansas. He was

more dead than alive. His mother was

not found. Carver and his brother

had no living relatives. So the Carvers

raised them as their own children.

Carver was sickly and weak. He

could not do work in the fields. So, he

helped with the laundry, cooked, and

learned to sew.

Frederick Douglass was a

well-known abolitionist.

6 7

Carver was curious about nature.

He collected specimens of many plants

and insects. He experimented with the

soil. He wanted to find out what the

best soil was for each kind of plant.

He saw that plants have an internal

plumbing system. It brings water and

nutrients from the soil to the leaves.

Herbs Used for Medicines

No Resources

Carver’s childhood house had few

books in it. In fact, when he was

growing up, there were only two

books in the house. They were

Webster’s Elementary Spelling

Book and the Bible.

Segregation meant that white people and black people were kept separate, as on this bus.

Early Education

The Carvers tried to send the boys to a local school. They

were turned away because they were black. The schools in

Missouri were segregated.

Carver finally started school when he was about 11 years

old. He walked eight miles to get there. He arrived too late in

the night to find a room with a family. So he slept in a barn.

Carver moved in with the childless black couple who owned

the barn. He helped them by doing household chores.




The Plant Doctor

Young Carver often helped his

neighbors with their sick plants.

He would nurse them back to

health. As a child, he was a

natural at botany. So he was

nicknamed “The Plant Doctor.”

Young Herbalist

The lady that Carver lived with

taught him which herbs and

plants could be used as medicine.

She was a midwife. That is a

person who delivers babies. She

also took care of sick people.


wild chicory

8 9

Elizabeth Britton (1858–1934)

Elizabeth Britton was born in New

York City. She was the oldest of five

daughters. Her family moved to

Cuba. There she was raised on a

sugar plantation. She was able to

go to school both in Cuba and

in New York. She did especially

well in her science classes.

Britton studied botany. She

graduated from a college called

the Normal School. Afterward,

she worked there. She was very

interested in moss. Although she

did not have an advanced degree, she

became a leading expert in the field.

After she married a college professor,

Britton was put in charge of the moss

collection at Columbia University. She

also worked to preserve wildflowers. She

helped start the New York Botanical

Garden. Her husband became the

garden’s first director. Britton published

more than 340 scientific papers. She has

had many moss species named after her.

Britton died in the Bronx, New York,

when she was 74 years old.


Washington received many letters.

In his town, there was also another

George Carver. The other man often

received Carver’s letters. Carver

added the W for Washington as his

middle initial, even though he really

didn’t have a middle name. People

often asked him what it stood for.

He would answer, “Washington.”


Carver followed some neighbors

who were moving to Fort Scott,

Kansas. He did whatever he could do

to earn money. When he had money,

he went to school. When he ran out of

money, he worked. He faced a great

deal of racial prejudice at this time.

Carver lived with the Seymours in

Olathe, Kansas. Lucy Seymour taught

him how to iron ruffles and pleats on

fancy clothes. He moved with them to

Minneapolis, Kansas. He finished high

school there.

In 1890, Carver became a high

school graduate. He applied to

Highland College in Kansas. When he

arrived to register for school, he was

rudely turned away. The college did not

accept black students. This was a bad

blow for Carver.

Fashion of the time was complex with many

details. Ironing such garments, as Carver did,

would have been complicated work.

10 11


Art or Science?

Carver became friends with a white couple. They lived in

Winterset, Iowa. They encouraged Carver to apply to college

again. They saw his potential. They believed in him. Carver

enrolled at Simpson College in 1890. He was going to study art.

After paying his tuition, Carver only had 10 cents left. For

one month, he lived on beef suet and corn meal.


Carver entered a drawing contest

at the Chicago World’s Fair in

1892. He won an honorable

mention for his painting of

a yucca plant.

Suet is made from beef fat. Carver used it to flavor his cornbread.

Carver’s teachers didn’t want him to study art. They didn’t

think he could earn a living with it. The art

director saw that Carver had a natural way

with plants. She suggested he study botany.

Botany is the science of plants. Carver

stayed at the college for less than a year.

Then he transferred to Iowa State. He went

there to study agricultural science.

Katherine Esau (1898–1997)

Katherine Esau was a

pioneering plant anatomist.

Anatomists study how living

things are put together. She

was possibly the greatest plant

anatomist of the 20th century.

She wrote the books Plant

Anatomy and Anatomy of Seed

Plants. They are still considered

the most important books on plants

ever written.

Esau was born in the Ukraine. She was

born to a Mennonite family. Her father was the mayor of

their city. Esau learned to read and write before even starting

school. She studied Russian, German, and English. She took

piano lessons and went to a gardening school. After her first

year of college, she had to move to Germany because of the

Russian Revolution.

When Esau was in her 20s, her family moved to America.

They went to a town in California. It was near Fresno. Esau

first found work as a housekeeper. Then she found work in a

seed company. From there, she moved to Davis, California,

where she worked and continued her studies.

Later, she settled in Santa Barbara, California. She

bought her first computer at the age of 86. She had to take

lessons to use it! When Esau was 91 years old, she received the

National Medal of Science. Esau died at the age of 99.


College Life

Life at Iowa State was not easy for Carver. He

was the first black person to attend the college. He

was not allowed to live in the dormitories. They

were only for the white students. He slept in an old

office. He had to eat in the basement of the dining

hall. That’s where all the employees ate.

Carver had many struggles. Despite it all,

he excelled in school. He learned about how

pollen works in plants. He also learned about

crossbreeding plants. This could create new and

better breeds of plants and flowers.

Carver also learned how to apply science to

farming. He studied soil composition. He learned

how the nutrients in the soil affect how plants grow.

cornflower pollen

Farmers must understand soil and its

nutrients in order to grow healthy crops.

David Grandison

Fairchild (1869–1954)

David Grandison Fairchild

was born in Michigan. He studied

agriculture. After his studies, he

joined the U.S. Department of

Agriculture. He worked there as a

botanist and a plant explorer.

Living Things

on His Jacket

Carver always wore a wrinkled, shabby

suit. But he also always had a flower or a

piece of evergreen on his jacket lapel.

Fairchild searched the world

for plants that could be brought to

America. He introduced more than

80,000 species and varieties of plants

to the United States. He brought

cherry trees from Japan. He also

introduced pistachios, nectarines,

bamboo, and avocados.

Fairchild married the daughter

of Alexander Graham Bell. They

had two children. When he retired,

his family settled in Coconut Grove,

Florida. He worked to establish a

national park in the Everglades.

14 15

Professional Life

Carver graduated from Iowa State.

Then he earned his master’s degree.

He had many job offers.

Booker T. Washington

Booker T. Washington invited

Carver to Alabama. Washington was

a former slave. He was also the driving

force in creating the Tuskegee Negro

Normal Institute. The school taught

academic classes to black students. It

also taught practical subjects.

Washington asked Carver to

join the faculty of the school and to

create an agricultural department.

Washington believed it was important

for black people to be self-sufficient.

He wanted them to own land. He also

wanted to help farmers work their land




The classes at Tuskegee were very

interesting. They included things

such as farming, carpentry, and

brickmaking. They also included

shoemaking, printing, and


Carver arrived in Tuskegee. He

noticed the cotton crops there were

small and sickly. He saw the land was

barren. It was eroded. He planned to

teach the farmers better planting and

growing techniques. He knew they

needed to grow other crops.

Tuskegee Negro Normal School

in Alabama

16 17

Carver found many ways

to make useful things

out of plants.

No Resources Again

When Carver arrived at the school, the

agriculture building was not finished. He had

to teach in a shack. It had no heat. Carver

had no supplies except for his microscope.

It had been a gift from his friends at Iowa

State. He needed equipment to teach. So, he

sent his students to search for things from the

community to use in his laboratory. Carver

believed it was important to save everything

and to waste nothing.

The Tuskegee Institute was located

on an abandoned plantation. The land

was swampy, with a lot of trash. The

land didn’t have much grass, flowers, or

shrubs. The soil was mostly dry clay. Not

much grew there. Carver and his students

cleaned up the land. They prepared it for

planting healthy crops.

What Is Chemurgy?

Carver pioneered research in

chemurgy (KEM-ur-jee). This

is the field of science that uses

agricultural products for industry.

Carver and his students put

together their own laboratory.

Who Invented

Peanut Butter?

Peanut butter has been invented

and reinvented many times in

history. Dr. John Harvey Kellogg

patented a “Process of Preparing

Nut Meal” in 1895. He used

peanuts. Carver’s research on the

peanut began in 1880. So, he

is sometimes credited with the


18 19

A Great Teacher and

a Movable School

Carver didn’t agree with the way most students were taught

science. They listened to lectures. They read books and learned

vocabulary. But they didn’t really understand plants.

Carver believed in hands-on learning. His students learned

by working outdoors. They did experiments. He took his

students on nature walks. He showed things to them.

Carver wanted to teach in the community. Farmers needed

help. He wanted to go to the farmers. Carver created a movable

school. His students built it inside the Jesup Wagon. It was

like a motor home. It was donated by a man named Morris K.

Jesup to help the school. The students drove it to the farms.

From it, Carver taught the most recent techniques in farming.

Carver’s “movable


Help for the

Hard Times

Carver’s help to the community

included pamphlets for farmers.

Emma Lucy Braun


Emma Lucy Braun was born

in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her parents

were teachers. They encouraged

her to appreciate the woodlands.

Braun earned three degrees from the

University of Cincinnati. She earned

her doctorate in botany.

Braun had a sister named

Annette. Annette was a zoologist.

She was the first woman to earn a

doctorate from the University of

Cincinnati. The sisters were research

partners. In the 1940s, the sisters

moved together to a house on two

acres in the woods. This is where

Emma Braun lived for 30 years.

After her retirement from

teaching at the university, Emma

Braun continued to write and

explore. She and her sister would

wander the countryside. They would

look for interesting or unusual

plants. They found many new

things throughout Ohio. Braun also

worked to save natural areas and to

create nature preserves.

20 21

The Peanut Man

Carver found over 300 uses for the

peanut. People called him “The Peanut Man.”

The following is a list of some of the things he

created from the peanut.

Carver used many different

techniques to turn peanut

plants into useful products.

• chili sauce

• mock meats

• plum punch

• cosmetic


• oleo margarine

• paper

• glue

• linoleum

• axle grease

• wallboard

• cloth dye

• instant coffee

• mayonnaise

• laxatives

• asparagus

• fuel briquettes

• gasoline

• insecticides

• plastics

• ink

• wood stains

• rubber

Carver could have made a lot of money

from his discoveries. But he believed God

inspired and guided his work. He believed his

discoveries belonged to the people. He did not

want his creations patented. He only applied

for three patents during his lifetime.

Corn Plastic

Another plant that has many

uses is corn. Did you know that corn

can be used to make plastic? It is

renewable and can degrade over time.

What can be made from corn

plastic? Items include trash bags,

shopping bags, plastic cups, and

disposable eating utensils. Even

packing peanuts, golf tees, and ski

tickets are sometimes made from

corn plastic. You might even be

listening to your favorite music on

a player made from corn plastic!

In the 1980s, electronics industry

leaders began using such plastic for

the faces of their products. So, today

the music of Korn can be played

through corn-based plastic. How

corny is that?

22 23

Carver and Henry Ford

The Wizard of Tuskegee

Other people wanted Carver to work with them. Thomas

Edison was an inventor. He wanted Carver to work for him.

He offered Carver a six-figure salary. That was an unbelievable

sum of money at the time! Carver turned down the job offer,



Carver invented synthetic rubber.

He also made material for paving

highways. He did this from his

research on the sweet potato and

the pecan.

The carmaker Henry Ford was also interested in Carver. He

needed sources for rubber in America. He needed rubber for

tires and other car materials. Carver would not leave Tuskegee.

Carver stayed at Tuskegee until he died in 1943. He never

married. He was dedicated to his work.

Carver’s work changed science forever. Before Carver

did his research, almost no one used plant materials. They

were only used for food and clothing. Much more scientific

advancement has been made because of Carver’s creative

approach to agriculture.

24 25


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Please always do the following:

Hope Jahren

1) when scaling make sure "scale stroke width" is

turned ON

2) set color of text strokes to the background color

John Hopkins University

Time Traveler

To understand ancient plants, Hope

Jahren collects plant fossils and brings them

back to her lab. There, she studies them

using microscopes and other tools. Her

research tells us about the air, soil, and

water that the plants lived in. All these

clues help Jahren understand what the

climate was like long ago. And maybe

how the climate will change in the future.

Experts Tell Us . . .

How surprising is it to find that

huge trees survived those long,

dark winters near the North Pole?

“This is like finding a human

being that could live underwater,”

Jahren says.

Being There

“Working together is a huge

part of science,” Jahren says. “It’s

like you’re part of a family that’s

trying to find things out.”

Jahren is often able to work out of doors,

looking for and observing ancient life signs.

Fossils like this one are one way of learning about

life long ago.

What was our planet like 45 million

years ago? “This was a very different

Earth,” Jahren says. For one thing, huge

trees grew near the North Pole. It wasn’t icy

back then, but it was still dark six months a

year. If you put your houseplants in a dark

closet for that long, they will die. So how

did a forest survive? Stay tuned. Jahren is

on the case.

Think About

As a kid, Jahren didn’t think she

would become a scientist. She

wanted to be a teacher, doctor,

nurse, lawyer, or maybe a writer.

What have you thought of


4 U 2 Do

“I love comic books,” Jahren says.

She’s even drawn comics starring

a weasel that’s a scientist.

Try drawing a comic about

something you like to do.

26 27

Lab: Transportation

Within Plants

We can’t see plants grow because they grow so slowly. We

do know that plants drink water and nutrients from the earth.

Otherwise, they would wilt and die.

To learn more about plants, do an experiment to prove

that water is transported from the roots, up the stalk, and out

to the leaves of a plant.


• beaker

• water

• red food coloring

• stalk of celery






Fill a large glass or beaker with water and

add red food coloring until it is dark red.

Place the stalk of celery into the beaker and

allow it to sit for a while.

After some time, the red water will flow

through the plant and turn the tips of the

leaves red.

Peel off one stalk and slice it in half. You

will see the small tubes that carry water and

nutrients to the leaves.






Describe what you observe in the celery.

Why do you think you see what you see?

What do you think would happen if you

turned the stalk upside down and placed

the leaves in the colored water? Why?


28 29



abolitionist—person who wants to

abolish, or get rid of, slavery

academic—regular school subjects, i.e.,

math, English, history, science

agriculture—the science, art, and

business of cultivating soil, producing

crops, and raising livestock; farming

anatomist—a person who studies the

physical structure of plants or animals

barren—unable to produce plants or fruit

botanist—a scientist who studies plants

botany—the scientific study of plants

chemurgy—the use of agricultural

products for commercial or industrial use

composition—the way something is made

crop rotation—a method of farming

where a number of different plants are

grown one after the other on a field so

that the earth stays healthy and fertile

crossbreeding—to breed new strains of

plants or animals

eroded—worn away

experimented—tested in order to learn

something, or to discover whether

something works or is true

geobiologist—a scientist who specializes

in geology and biology

Jesup Wagon—large vehicle used by

Carver to teach school while visiting


laxatives—something that helps a person

have a bowel movement

linoleum—a tough, washable floor


Mennonite—a member of an Anabaptist

church characterized particularly by

simplicity of life and pacifism

midwife—a person, usually a woman,

who is trained to assist women in



plantation—large estate or farm, usually

in the South, where crops were grown

pleats—folds in cloth, set into place

pollen—a powdery substance made by

flowering plants for fertilizing other


potential—the possibility of something

happening in the future

prejudice—an irrational hatred, fear, or

mistrust of a person or group

register—to put information, especially

your name, into an official list or record

renewable—a resource, such as lumber,

that can be renewed as quickly as it is

used up so that it will not run out

segregated—keeping people from

different groups separated from one


self-sufficient—to be able to make

enough money or grow enough food to

live without having to rely on others

specimen—something that serves as an


suet—hard fatty tissue around the

kidneys of cattle and sheep, used in


timberland—an area of land with woods

that can be cut down and sold as lumber

zoologist—a specialist in the branch of

biology dealing with animals

abolitionist, 7

academic, 16

agriculture, 4, 15, 18, 24

anatomist, 13

barren, 16

Bell, Alexander Graham, 15

Bentley, John, 6

botanist, 4, 15

botany, 9, 11–12, 21

Braun, Annette, 21

Braun, Emma Lucy, 21

Britton, Elizabeth, 10

Carver, Jim, 6–7

Carver, Mary, 6

Carver, Moses, 6–7

Carver, Susan, 6

chemurgy, 19

composition, 14

crop-rotation methods, 4

crossbreeding, 14

Edison, Thomas, 24

eroded, 16

Esau, Katherine, 13

Fairchild, David Grandison, 15

Ford, Henry, 24

geobiologist, 26–27

Jahren, Hope, 26–27

Jesup Wagon, 20

Kellogg, Dr. John Harvey, 19

nutrients, 9, 14–15, 28–29

plantation, 11, 19

pollen, 14–15

prejudice, 11

segregation, 8, 11

self-sufficient, 16

specimens, 9

timberland, 6

Seymour, Lucy, 11

slavery, 6–7

soil, 4–5, 9, 14–15, 19, 26

Tuskegee Negro Normal

Institute, 16–17, 19, 24

Washington, Booker T., 16–17

zoologist, 21

30 31


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Our publications and programs provide opportunities for

students and teachers to explore the captivating world of

science—from astrobiology to zoology. We bring science

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Image Credits

Cover: The Granger Collection, New York; p.3 Library of Congress; p.4 (top) Joe Gough/Shutterstock; p.4 (left) Stock Montage/Getty Images; p.5

(left) Kenneth W. Fink/Photo Researchers, Inc.; p.5 Tim Bradley; p.5 (right) Mushakesa/Shutterstock; pp.6–7 Stock Montage, Inc./Alamy; p.7 Library

of Congress; p.8 Stan Wayman//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images; p.9 (clockwise) Sergey Chushkin/Shutterstock; Svetlana Privezentseva/Shutterstock;

Sandra Cunningham’s Gallery/Shutterstock; Public Domain; V. J. Matthew/Shutterstock; p.9 (right) Robert Kiernan/iStockphoto; p.10 Breadmaker/

Shutterstock; p.10 (right) The New York Botanical Garden; p.11 Rachel L. Sellers/Shutterstock; p.12 Tim Bradley; p.13 Rick Reason; p.14 (top) Olga

Shelego/Shutterstock; p.14 (bottom) Library of Congress; pp.14–15 (top) Susumu Nishinaga/Photo Researchers, Inc.; pp.14–15 (bottom) Mario

Savoia/Shutterstock; p.15 (right) Rick Reason; p.16 Library of Congress; pp.16–17 Bettmann/CORBIS; p.17 (left) Library of Congress; p.17 (right)

Wellford Tiller/Shutterstock; p.17 (bottom) Morgan Mansour/Shutterstock; p.18 (top) Tuskegee University Archives; pp.18–19 Library of Congress; p.19

Marc Dietrich/Shutterstock; p.20 (top) Emin Kuliyev/Shutterstock; p.20 (bottom) Tim Bradley; p.21 (left) Tim Bradley; p.21 (top) Rick Reason; p.22

(top) Mushakesa/Shutterstock; p.22 (left) POPPERFOTO/Alamy; p.23 (top) Robyn Mackenzie/Shutterstock; p.23 YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images;

p.24 PH Polk Collection/Tuskegee University Archives; p.25 Library of Congress; p.25 (right) Fernando Rodrigues/Shutterstock; p.25 (center) Edward

Westmacott/; p.25 (bottom) Sally Cheng/Shutterstock; p.27 Houston Gem & Mineral Society; p.28 (top) Marek Pawluczuk/Shutterstock;

pp.28–29 Nicolle Rager Fuller; p.32 Getty Images

George Washington Carver:

Agriculture Pioneer Reader

Learning Objectives

Students will identify and use text structure in order to understand

text. (Nonfiction Reading Objective)

Students will write using examples from the text. (Writing


Students will explore concepts related to photosynthesis and

agriculture. (Science Content Objective)


• writing paper and pencils

• A World of Peanuts activity sheet and transparency (page 108)

• Grow a Peanut activity sheet (page 109)

• Rotating Crops activity sheet (page 110)

• materials for Lab (see page 96)

• Reader Quiz (page 111)

Unit 4: Plants

Before Reading






Complete the Introductory Activity (page 92) with the whole class. Then divide the

students into reading groups. The students who read this book should be below level.

Display the book George Washington Carver: Agriculture Pioneer and ask students to define

“agriculture pioneer.” Help them to understand that agriculture pertains to the science

of farming and a pioneer is someone who leads the way in a particular area. Given this

information, lead students to the understanding that George Washington Carver was a man

who led the way in the area of farming.

Take time before reading to review any unfamiliar vocabulary with the students. After

reviewing new words, ask students to predict how these words might be used in the reader

and what they might learn from the text.

Open up the reader to pages 4 and 5 and show this spread to the students. Point out the

main text. Then point out the sidebar information and pictures. Ask students why they

think these are included along with the main text. Read all of the text aloud.

Explain that diagrams, photographs, sidebars, etc., all provide extra information that helps

the reader to clarify and increase understanding.

© Teacher Created Materials #10531 (i2069)—Life Science Teacher’s Guide 105

Unit 4: Plants

George Washington Carver: Agriculture Pioneer

Before Reading (cont.)


Tell students to use the sidebar information as they read to help them to better

understand. Draw students’ attention to the structure of each page spread. There is a

section of main text. Then there is information and/or pictures. These are often examples

that further explain the main text. Explain that reading sidebar information is an

excellent way to find additional examples and information.

During Reading






Distribute the readers and have all students read through page 9. Then pause and ask the

following questions:

• How did the sidebar information help you to understand the main text?

• On pages 8 and 9, it says that Carver was not able to attend the local school. What

sidebar information is provided to indicate the books he used to become educated?

Continue discussion in this manner as students read the remainder of the reader.

Peanuts are not native North American plants. Discuss what this means with students.

Reread page 15 about transplanted plants.

Display the A World of Peanuts transparency displaying a blank world map. Use a world

desk or wall map as a reference. Explain that peanuts originated in South America (color

in South America with one color of transparency marker), then moved to West Africa by

Portuguese settlers and traders (color in West Africa with a second color). Finally, peanuts

came to North America (color in North America with a third color). Today, peanuts are also

grown in Argentina, Sudan, India, China, Thailand, and Indonesia (color these countries

with a fourth color).

Discuss the regions of the world where peanuts are grown. What similarities do these

countries share? Distribute A World of Peanuts (page 108) to students. (Students may

need to reference a U.S. map.) Read the information and shade the states together.

Then allow time for students to answer the questions. As a follow up, ask students, if

they can, to bring in a peanut butter label. Working in groups, the students compare the

ingredients among different brands, and look to see if the company boasts what percent of

the product is peanuts.

After Reading


Ask students to respond to the following questions:

• How did Carver learn so much about agriculture?

• How did he become a scientist?

• How does his work in the past benefit people today?


#10531 (i2069)—Life Science Teacher’s Guide © Teacher Created Materials

After Reading (cont.)








George Washington Carver: Agriculture Pioneer

Explain to the students that just as the examples in the reader were helpful for them to

make sense of the text, they can also provide examples in the things that they write.

Assign each student a section of the reader to summarize in a paragraph of four or five

sentences. The student should write a sentence that tells the main idea of the section

and then four sentences that provide supporting details. The student should include an

example as part of the supporting details.

A peanut plant mostly grows like other plants, except for where the seed (peanut) grows—

underground! Discuss with students the usual growth process of a plant. Illustrate the

steps on the board as they recite them in order. Then reveal that peanuts are not really

nuts (which grow on trees); they are legumes, in the same plant family as peas and beans.

Discuss how these seeds grow in a pod.

Reread page 22 listing some products that can be made from peanuts. Distribute Grow

a Peanut (page 109) to students. Read the information together, then allow students

to complete the activity sheet independently. Invite students to try growing their own

peanut plant. Use raw (un-roasted) peanuts in their shell and nutrient-rich, well-drained


Southern plantation owners were quickly depleting their fields of needed nutrients. They

planted cotton in the same fields every year. Reread page 4 about how crop rotation can

help keep soil ready for planting.

Distribute Rotating Crops (page 110) to students. Read the information, then allow time

for students to work the logic problem. Following, have them share their four-field crop

rotation plan with the class.

A Reader Quiz is provided (page 111). Use this to assess your students’ understanding of

the reader.

Finally, gather the students back together in a whole group to have them complete the lab

activity (pages 95–96) and the Concluding Activity (page 93).

Unit 4: Plants

© Teacher Created Materials #10531 (i2069)—Life Science Teacher’s Guide 107

Unit 4: Plants

George Washington Carver: Agriculture Pioneer

A World of Peanuts

David Grandison Fairchild studied and brought plants that could live in America. The peanut

plant is not believed to have grown in North America before settlers brought it here. It began in

South America. Portuguese settlers brought it to West Africa in the 1500s. It was then shipped

along with slaves to the southern states. The slaves farmed the peanut fields.

Today, peanuts are grown in Alabama,

Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina,

Oklahoma, Texas, and Virginia. Find

these states on the U.S. map below.

Color them with a colored pencil.

Indicate in the map key what the color

stands for.

Georgia is another state that grows

peanuts. It grows about half the supply

of peanuts in the United States. Shade

Georgia on the map with a second color.

Indicate in the map key what this color stands for.

Directions: Use the information you read in George Washington Carver: Agriculture Pioneer to

answer the questions.

1. Americans consume about 2.4 billion pounds of peanuts each year. Write this number in

standard form.

2. About half of Americans’ consumption of peanuts is from peanut butter. How many pounds

of peanuts do Americans consume as peanut butter?

3. In the United States, in order for a product

to claim itself as “peanut butter,” it must

be at least 90% peanuts. Check this

peanut butter label. Assuming this product

is 90% peanuts, what percent do the

remaining ingredients make up? What are

the other ingredients?

peanut butter

ingredients: Peanuts,

sugar, vegetable oil,

molasses, salt.

4. If Carver’s food, industrial, and commercial products used peanuts following the same ratio

where they are presently grown in the United States, from which state would manufacturers

get about half their nuts?

5. Would Carver have been able to teach students about peanuts at the Tuskegee Institute?

How do you know?

Challenge: Write your own question about peanuts on the back side of this page. Use

reference materials to find the answer. Trade papers with a friend and try to answer each others’



#10531 (i2069)—Life Science Teacher’s Guide © Teacher Created Materials

Grow a Peanut

Plants need several nutrients to grow. Plants

take energy from the sun, and use carbon

dioxide and water to make food (glucose)

for themselves. This process is called


Plants use their roots to draw water to the

leaves, where photosynthesis takes place.

Along with the water are nutrients from the

soil. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium

are a plant’s primary nutrients. George

Washington Carver realized that farmers were

depleting or using up all the soil’s nutrients

by planting only one crop year after year.

Eventually, these crops died. The nutrients

these plants needed to grow had been sucked

out of the soil.

This illustration shows a peanut plant as it

grows. Once planted, roots and stems sprout.

The stems grow leaves. Small yellow flowers

bloom on the stems. A peg grows from the

flower to the soil. Seed pods form at the ends

of the pegs. These are the peanuts in their


George Washington Carver: Agriculture Pioneer

Unit 4: Plants

Directions: Label each part of the peanut plant. Use these terms. Answer the questions.

Flower Leaf Nitrogen Peanut Peg Phosphorus

Potassium Root Soil Stem Sun

1. Where does the seed we eat (peanut) grow?

2. How is this different from nuts?

3. Why do you think peanuts are sometimes called “ground nuts”?

4. Peanuts are not nuts. They are legumes, most closely related to peas and beans. What do

all three of these edible plants have in common?

5. Aside from peanut butter, what else can be made from peanuts? Why?

© Teacher Created Materials #10531 (i2069)—Life Science Teacher’s Guide 109

Unit 4: Plants

George Washington Carver: Agriculture Pioneer

Rotating Crops

George Washington Carver discovered that farmers were depleting or using up all the soil

nutrients when they continued to plant cotton year after year. He taught farmers how to rotate

their crops so that the soil could remake the nutrients plants need to grow. Peanuts were one

crop that was rotated with cotton on some plantations.

Early farmers used to plant their crops on two fields. They let one field lay unused (called fallow)

while they planted on the second field. The next year they would switch the crop to the other

field. Now farmers can plant in one field two years in a row before letting it rest for one year.

Farmers keep three fields of crops to let this happen. This illustration shows a crop rotation over

a period of three years.

Field 1 Field 2 Field 3

Year 1 Kale X (Fallow) Watermelon

Year 2 Peanuts Carrots X (Fallow)

Year 3 X (Fallow) Squash Soy beans

No two plants from the same “family” should be planted in the same field two years in a row.

Directions: Use the clues to determine which fields had which family of vegetables. Write the

color in the correct field.

1. Color in the nine boxes with green, yellow, blue, or red. Each color signifies a different crop

family. Field 1 had no red or blue crops over three years. Field 2 had crops the first and

second years. Field 3 had one green crop. Field 1 lay fallow its second year. A red crop was

only planted in Year 1. Year 2 had a green and blue crop. A green crop was planted each

year. Year 3 only had one green crop. At least two crops were planted each year, none the

same color.

Field 1 Field 2 Field 3

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

2. Use the color chart below to write the name of a crop in each of the colored boxes.

Green = cucumbers, pumpkins, squash, or watermelon

Yellow = carrots, parsley, celery, or dill

Blue = kale, mustard greens, cabbage, or broccoli

Red = peanuts, lima beans, soy beans, or peas

3. Create your own crop rotation plan with four fields. Peanuts should be one of the crops

grown each year. Plants in the same family should not be planted in the same field for any

two consecutive years. Each field should lay fallow for one year after being used for two


Field 1 Field 2 Field 3 Field 4

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3


#10531 (i2069)—Life Science Teacher’s Guide © Teacher Created Materials

Reader Quiz

George Washington Carver: Agriculture Pioneer

Directions: Use what you learned from reading George Washington Carver: Agriculture Pioneer

to choose the best answer for each question.

1. Of the 300+ uses for peanuts, which part of the economy does NOT offer a product made

with peanuts?

a. food b. industry c. commerce d. finance

2. How were George and his mother’s situation different from that of other slaves?

a. They bought land from the Carvers.

b. They were allowed to stay together.

c. The Carvers treated them like family.

Unit 4: Plants

d. Their situation was the same as that of other slaves.

3. How did Carver overcome prejudice during his lifetime?

a. He applied and was accepted into many colleges.

b. He made up his own middle name.

c. He did well in school and was offered many jobs.

d. He wore a flower in his lapel to show that he had class.

4. What did Carver seek to accomplish in Tuskegee?

a. He wanted the cotton crops to be more healthy and full.

b. He wanted students to be self-sufficient.

c. He wanted students to learn by doing.

d. all of these

5. How did Carver’s work with crossbreeding help farmers?

a. He helped pollen reach more plants.

b. He discovered ways to make stronger, healthier plants.

c. He learned how to improve soil composition.

d. He introduced better plants that were not native to the United States.

6. What was Carver’s reaction to money and job opportunities that came with his discoveries?

a. He turned down money and high-paying jobs to help people.

b. He accepted money for his discoveries.

c. He held many jobs across the United States.

d. He ignored money to continue his research in chemurgy.

7. George Washington Carver’s nickname is “The Peanut Man.” Do you think this is a good

nickname? Use details and examples from the book to support your answer.

© Teacher Created Materials #10531 (i2069)—Life Science Teacher’s Guide 111

Unit 4: Plants

George Washington Carver: Agriculture Pioneer

George Washington Carver Answer Key

A World of Peanuts

Check students’ maps.

1. 2,400,000,000 pounds

2. 1,200,000,000 pounds

3. 10%; sugar, vegetable oil, molasses, salt.

4. Georgia

5. Carver would have been able to teach students at the Tuskegee Institute about peanuts if he

took them in the Jesup Wagon to a peanut farm, but only if peanuts were grown in Alabama

during his life like they are today.

Challenge: Check students’ questions and answers.

Grow a Peanut

1. underground

2. Nuts grow in a tree above ground.

3. They grow underground.

4. Their seeds are all contained in a pod.

5. Answers will vary.

Rotating Crops

1. Year 1: Green, None, Yellow; Year 2: None, Green, Blue; Year 3: Yellow, None, Green

2. Answers will vary.

3. Check students’ field layouts.

Reader Quiz

1. d 2. c 3. c 4. d 5. b 6. a

7. Answers will vary. Students should have justified their response with details from the story.


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