My daughters came home from school and asked me “who is Marie Curie?” and so we hit the internet and library! Here are the resources we found to learn about this genius scientist, who change the world forever.
Marie Skłodowska Curie (1867–1934) was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who discovered radioactivity. When she was a little girl, she adored reading, learning, and exploring nature in her home country of Poland. Because she wasn’t allowed to study at the university in Poland because she was a woman, she moved to France and enrolled at the Sorbonne in Paris to study physics and mathematics. Achieving her PhD and working alongside her husband and scientific partner, Pierre, she made incredible research about radioactivity, and discovered two new elements. She eventually won two Nobel Prizes, and is one of the most famous scientists in the world!
10 Amazing Facts about Marie Curie
Who is Marie Curie and why is she so phenomenal? Check out these 10 facts about her!
- she wasn’t allowed to study higher education in Poland so she moved to France
- got a PhD when no other women could study doctorate degrees
- tirelessly worked in her science lab for hours on end, often forgetting to eat and drink
- discovered and coined the term radioactivity
- discovered two new elements, that were also radioactive (Polonium and Radium)
- first woman to be awarded for her work in science
- first woman to get a Novel Prize
- won TWO Novel Prizes, the only person in the world to win in two different fields! (chemistry and physics)
- developed a portable x-ray machine and used it during World War I to help injured soldiers
- after all of her work in the lab with dangerous materials, her body, clothes, belongings, furniture, etc are all radioactive
Her sheer brilliance, despite overcoming tremendous challenges as a woman, is truly inspirational.
Books for Kids about Marie Curie
Marie Curie, by Isabel Sanchez Vegara. For your youngest readers, this new series is awesome!!! Sweet illustrations are paired with a very simple text. Perfect introduction to biographies as a genre of texts.
Marie Curie, by Demi. This is the book I would recommend for kids in kindergarten through 2nd or 3rd grade. As a trusted author, Demi writes non-fiction books that are easy for kids to understand. Her illustrations are pieces of art, and pull you through the story.
Marie Curie: Prize-Winning Scientist, by Lori Mortensen. Very kid-friendly, with shorter, comprehensible sentences and simple messages.
Marie Curie: Scientist Who Made Glowing Discoveries (Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Inventors & Scientists), by Mike Venezia. This is another book for the lower grades. We’ve read several in the series and my kids enjoy the cartoonish illustrations.
World History Biographies: Marie Curie: The Woman Who Changed the Course of Science, by Philip Steele. Good magazine-style book for middle grades by National Geographic.
Marie Curie for Kids: Her Life and Scientific Discoveries, with 21 Activities and Experiments, by Amy M. O’Quinn. Another great book for middle grades, but unique in that it has over 20 experiments for kids to try! Very hands-on, accessible activities that take the learning to a deeper level.
Marie Curie (DK Biography) DK books are perfect for kids! They also include a mixture of detailed, and captioned illustrations, with primary source photos and documents. Suitable for middle and high schoolers to read, but great to for kids in primary grades to pore over and grab interesting facts.
Who is Marie Curie? These videos help explain!
TED-ed is my favorite short-documentary maker! I use them in my ESL classes all the time. This video is beautiful done, and appropriate for upper elementary through high school. It is very informative, but clear and concise.
Nice animated video that answers the question “Who is Marie Curie?” in a concise, kid-friendly bio of important events in her life.
Great little biography, but better for older kids. He speaks really fast, and does say badass 🙂
To learn more about brilliant women scientists, check out this post!