New science TEKS are coming to Texas! One change is that students will learn about specific scientists in various fields. Another change is that the STARR tests will pull from science and social studies topics for reading passages. This is a good change because so much of our reading comprehension depends on our background knowledge of a topic. What isn’t great is that some of these topics will be taught starting in kindergarten, and kindergarteners will not be ready to absorb the necessary knowledge. As a result, we will have to continue going back and reteaching what students have already learned.
Marie Maynard Daly is a scientist students will learn about for the first time in second grade. She was the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry in the United States. She did work on complex topics, such as protein synthesis (how the body makes proteins) and DNA. She also helped discover how cholesterol can harm the human heart.
Marie Maynard Daly: A Short Biography
Marie Maynard Daly was born on April 16, 1921, in Queens, New York. Growing up, Marie was a curious and bright child. She attended public schools in her neighborhood, where her teachers quickly noticed her exceptional intellect and love for science. Marie’s parents, both of whom valued education, encouraged her to pursue her interests and dreams.
Despite facing challenges as an African American woman in a time when opportunities were limited, Marie remained determined. She earned a scholarship to Queens College, where she studied chemistry and flourished. Her dedication and hard work paid off, as she graduated magna cum laude in 1942.
Marie graduated from college just as the United States entered World War II after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The war gave Marie more opportunities to pursue chemistry because many male scientists were drafted into the war effort.
Marie’s thirst for knowledge led her to Columbia University, where she pursued her Ph.D. in chemistry. In 1947, she became the first African American woman in the United States to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry – a groundbreaking achievement that paved the way for future generations.
Marie Maynard Daly didn’t slow down after achieving her Ph.D. in chemistry in 1947. Her journey was just getting started! She dedicated her life to science, education, and improving the world.
Marie’s passion for research led her to collaborate with other brilliant minds, contributing to our understanding of how the human body works. She specialized in studying the role of chemicals in the body and how they affect our health. Her work paved the way for important advancements in medicine and physiology.
Not only was Marie a talented scientist, but she was also a dedicated educator. She taught at Howard University, where she inspired and mentored countless students. Marie understood the importance of sharing knowledge and empowering the next generation of scientists.
Her commitment to education and research also extended to her role as a role model for women and people of color in the scientific community. Marie’s achievements were a beacon of hope and possibility for those facing similar challenges and barriers.
Marie Maynard Daly died on October 28, 2003, in New York City, New York.
What She Studied
Marie Maynard Daly studied chemistry within the body. We call people who study the chemistry inside the body biochemists.
One of her primary areas of research was understanding the process of digestion. Imagine your favorite meal transforming into energy and nutrients that keep you strong and healthy. Marie delved into the complex chemistry behind this magical transformation, helping us better understand the foods we eat and how they nourish us.
Another exciting area of Marie’s research was centered around the human circulatory system. She studied how blood vessels work, how the heart pumps blood, and how oxygen travels throughout our bodies. Her discoveries provided valuable insights into cardiovascular health and paved the way for medical advancements.
Cholesterol, a fatty substance found in our bodies, is crucial to our overall well-being. However, too much cholesterol can lead to health issues, such as heart disease. Marie Maynard Daly was determined to unravel the mysteries surrounding cholesterol and its effects on our health.
Marie’s research journey took her deep into the intricate pathways of our bodies. She studied how cholesterol is produced and transported, uncovering the inner workings of our metabolism. Her groundbreaking work provided a clearer understanding of how cholesterol levels can impact our heart health.
Through meticulous experiments and detailed analyses, Marie Maynard Daly contributed to the knowledge that certain types of cholesterol, often called “bad” cholesterol, can build up in our blood vessels and lead to blockages. This discovery was a significant step in comprehending the links between cholesterol and heart-related conditions.
But Marie’s studies didn’t stop there! She also explored the fascinating world of proteins, the building blocks of life. She uncovered how these tiny molecules play a vital role in our bodies, performing essential tasks that keep us alive and thriving.
Teaching Second Graders About Marie Maynard Daly
As you can see, Marie Maynard Daly’s research expands beyond second-grade science. Here are the big ideas second graders need to know about Marie Maynard Daly:
- She was an African American woman scientist. She was treated differently because of the color of her skin and the fact that she was a woman who wanted to study science in the 1940s. Her family was also poor. Later in life, she worked to ensure any girl who wanted to study science could.
- She was the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry in the United States.
- She studied the human body. She learned that cholesterol, a type of fat, could harm the human heart.
The Connection Between Reading and Writing
Reading and writing are two ways we work to understand information. To ensure that your students understand and remember what they learn about Marie Maynard Daly, you will have them read and write about her. There are many writing structures you can use in your classroom. I have created an “adding details” system to help students write more interesting sentences.
Here is how it works:
- There are three to four videos on the subject. Students do not need to watch all of the videos. I like to show my favorite video to the entire class and then share the presentation with students so that they can choose which other videos they want to watch. Watching the videos aims to build up the students’ background knowledge on a subject. They get familiar with the relevant vocabulary and start making connections. This helps them understand what they read.
- Students read the paragraph on the subject. They may have to read it a couple of times to understand it.
- Students complete the details chart (who, what, where, when, why, and how) to organize their learning from the reading passage. There will be multiple ways to complete the chart correctly.
- Students use the charts to write three questions about the subject (and the answers) on the back of the reading passage. Later, you can turn one of the questions into a writing prompt for the students.
Marie Maynard Daly Presentation and Reading Passage
Click on the picture below to access the Marie Maynard Daly presentation.
Background knowledge is so important for helping our students and children be successful. Reading books is a great way to build background knowledge. Watching videos can build background knowledge too! I have lots of blog posts that build background knowledge! Check out some below!