Teaching Through Biographies

Biographies Increase Student Interest

Portrait of British mathematician and physicist Sir Isaac Newton (1642 - 1727)
Hulton Archive/Staff/ Getty Images News/ Getty Images

Many students are turned off to history because it is old, dry and boring. One way to connect with students is to have them discover the real people behind history. Biographies can do that. However, biographies don't have to be limited to history classes.

Reasons for Using Biographies

As I have already stated, biographies can bring history to life. When we find out what motivated great individuals from the past it helps us understand their actions. For example, in a biography I have posted this week about Mohandas Gandhi, we find that his Mother's religion seriously affected his later life. Plus, as students read about the people from the past, they begin to realize historical figures are much like people today.

Biographies are not just useful in history, however. There have been colorful and interesting figures in all fields of study. Examples include:

  • Math - Sir Isaac Newton
  • Science - Tycho Brahe
  • Literature - Edgar Allen Poe
  • Music - Sergei Rachmaninoff
  • Drama - Sarah Bernhardt
  • Art - Vincent Van Gogh
  • Business Education - Sam Walton

Rubric to Grade Biographies

Once your students have finished their frameworks, you can use this rubric to assess them. If you are unsure about using rubrics, see this article about the advantages of using them.

Here are just a few of the other biographies on this site: