Role Models

Unit Lessons

PYP Theme: Who We Are

BiblioGarden PYP Librarian Beanstalk LogoRole Models: Unit Overview

Role models inspire us and set examples for us to follow.  In this unit, I draw on picture book biographies to introduce students to key individuals who may not be featured in the homeroom lessons.  I tried to balance the lessons in terms of gender (two female, three male), nationality (French, Kenyan, U.S.A twice, UK), and areas of expertise.  However, I do focus heavily on the sciences and entertainment/the arts.  Introduce your students to Jacques Cousteau, Wangari Maathai, Walt Disney, Wynton Marsalis, and Jane Goodall and watch their worlds expand.  Hopefully they will be inspired to continue exploring biographies and learning more about people who have shaped our world.  This unit makes a fine start!


Role Models #1: Jacques Cousteau

Lesson Overview: In this lesson, students find out who built the first underwater laboratory and who invented the Aqualung.  He was French, wore a signature red beanie, and introduced the world to life underneath the waves.  It was Jacques Cousteau, of course!  Sit back and watch the children delight in… Read more

Betty Turpin

Role Models #2: Wangari Maathai

Lesson Overview: In this lesson, students learn about Wangari Maathai, an environmental scientist, activist, and Nobel Prize Laureate.  Wangari Maathai began the Green Belt Movement that has, over time, led to the reforestation of large parts of Africa, especially her native Kenya.  Be inspired by Wangari Maathai and then plant… Read more

Betty Turpin

Role Models #3: Walt Disney

Lesson Overview: In this lesson, students find out who Walt Disney, the man, is.  Today’s children know Disney from Walt Disney World, Disneyland, or the Disney Channel.  However, long before those ventures, he was a young artist and struggling businessman.  Help the children understand that before the Disney media empire,… Read more

Betty Turpin

Role Models #4: Wynton Marsalis

Lesson Overview: This lesson is, without question, one of my most favorite of the year.  While teachers often choose Mozart or Beethoven to represent music in the Role Model Unit of Inquiry, I always teach Wynton Marsalis.  Why?  Because he is a jazz great even though he hated to practice… Read more

Betty Turpin

Role Models #5: Jane Goodall

Lesson Overview: In this lesson students learn about one of the world’s most acclaimed and best-loved scientists, Dr. Jane Goodall.  Bring binoculars and a stuffed chimpanzee to generate interest!  The children will listen to two short picture books and watch two short video clips, both of which will leave them… Read more

Betty Turpin