In this lesson, students will discover the history behind the world’s most prestigious peace prize.
To help students understand the life of Alfred Nobel and his motivation to establish international prizes rewarding human achievement, especially peace.
Each student will be able to explain what Alfred Nobel did that made him wealthy and why he funded international prizes for achievement. Each student will also decorate a dove to display in school to promote peace.
Remind students of everything they have done thus far in their unit on peace. Tell them that today they will learn about the world’s greatest prize for peace, the Nobel Peace Prize.
Show the book cover. Ask students to look very carefully at Zachary Pullen’s cover illustration. If you pay very close attention, what do you notice in the cover illustration? (Answer: There is a dove almost hidden in the figure of the eye.)
Explain that there was a man named Alfred Nobel and that he created the Peace Prize to try to make our world a safer, happier, more prosperous, and more humane place. Ask students to listen to the text and try to discover:
- Which country Mr. Nobel came from.
- What Mr. Nobel and his family invented.
- What made Mr. Nobel wealthy.
- What made Mr. Nobel so very, very sad.
- What action Mr. Nobel took to make the world a better place.
Teach Alfred Nobel: The Man Behind the Peace Prize by Kathy-Jo Wargin and illustrated by Zachary Pullen. Check for understanding as you proceed through the text. The children will almost certainly be unfamiliar with many of the places, inventions, and businesses. Emphasize the big idea, that Mr. Nobel left his fortune to establish international prices to reward remarkable work in the sciences and arts, as well as peace.
Explain that the dove is an international symbol for peace. Show the children the handout and give them instructions about decorating, cutting out, and displaying their doves.
Allow the children time to complete their dove projects.
Review some of the facts the class learned today about Alfred Nobel. These might include:
- Alfred Nobel was born in Sweden.
- Alfred Nobel was an inventor.
- Alfred Nobel invented dynamite.
- Alfred Nobel did not like that his inventions were used to harm others.
- Alfred Nobel used his fortune to fund international prizes in science, the arts, and peace.
- The Nobel Prizes are awarded every year.
Thank the children for their work and give final instructions about how to finish decorating and displaying the doves.
- Alfred Nobel: The Man Behind the Peace Prize by Kathy-Jo Wargin and illustrated by Zachary Pullen.
- Copies of the dove student handout. (Free Clip Art)
- Colored pencils or supplies to decorate the dove.
- A few photos of doves so that the children have an idea of what a real dove looks like. (I usually use Google images to pull up a few quickly.)
- The Nobel Museum: http://www.nobelmuseum.se/en
- Alfred Nobel’s Life for Grade School Children: https://www.nobelprize.org/alfred_nobel/biographical/articles/life-work/gradeschool.html
This is an easy lesson and one the children will remember.
Recommended books for this lesson:
1. Alfred Nobel: The Man Behind the Peace Prize by Kathy-Jo Wargin and illustrated by Zachary Pullen.
Alfred Nobel, Nobel Prizes, Nobel Peace Prize, Inventors, Science Experiments