In this activity, students will answer questions while watching a video from the Spellbound series produced by ACS. Each episode focuses on a different notable scientist, recounting how their interest in science was sparked in their childhood and how they went on to make great contributions to the scientific community. This seventh episode focuses on the childhood of Peter Agre, who won the 2003 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and is noted for his work in the study of malaria, as well as scientific diplomacy and policy.
Middle School, High School
By the end of this activity, students should be able to:
- Explain how childhood experiences can contribute to an individual’s scientific development.
- Reflect on their own interests and role models.
This lesson supports students’ understanding of:
- History of chemistry
Teacher Preparation: minimal
Lesson: 10-20 minutes
- Spellbound Episode 7 Video
- Student Handout
- Computer and projector with volume
- No specific safety precautions need to be observed for this activity.
- The Spellbound series of videos is about the childhood experiences that inspired important scientists to become scientists. They can help students understand that anyone at any age, anywhere in the world can be inspired by science. These videos would be appropriate at any point in the year and, as they are publically available, could easily be used as part of an emergency sub plan.
- The running time of this video is about five minutes. As it is a short video and it moves pretty quickly, you may want to show it twice to ensure students can complete all the questions.
- The student questions/answers are presented in sequential order in the video.
- An answer key has also been provided for teacher reference.
- The last three questions ask for students to reflect on the content of the video as it applies to their life. It could be interesting to have students share answers with a partner or with the class after they have had a few minutes to answer those questions.
For the Student
While watching the video, answer the following questions:
- When Peter wasn’t working on a dairy farm or participating in the Boy Scout program, what TV show would he watch on Saturday mornings?
- What did Peter’s father, Court Agre, do for a living?
- Who did Peter eat Cornflakes with and what was this person famous for?
- What type of student was Peter in high school?
- When Peter returned to high school and eventually college, what gave him the motivation to study?
- What did Peter discover while doing research at Johns Hopkins University and why was this important?
- His work on this cellular mechanism allowed him to study which disease?
- What message does Peter have for young people who are interested in science?
After you watch the video, reflect on the following questions:
- What has caused you to be restless in school? Have you ever wanted to give up or drop out of school? Who has helped you to persevere when things were difficult?
- If you could eat Cornflakes with anyone around the breakfast table, who would you choose? What would you want to discuss?
- If you had the opportunity to ask Peter one question (about anything – his work, his life, etc.), what would it be?