The Life and Times of Percy Julian

For Teachers

Activity 11A (Writing Activity)
What Is Success?

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Lesson Overview This activity asks students to write about whether they think Percy Julian was a success and also how they view success in their lives.
Learning Objectives This activity is aimed at higher-order thinking (evaluation) skills. The activity requires that students recall and evaluate achievements in Percy Julian’s life and reflect in writing on their own view of success.
Materials Required Student assignment sheet and lined paper.
Lesson Concepts

In our society there are some conventional definitions of success (e.g., fame, wealth). Science as a profession has its definitions of success. Individuals may also have their own definition of success. Students should be able to recognize both external and internal measures of their own success in life.

Skills Required Higher-order thinking (evaluation) and writing skills.
Procedures Notes At the end of a study of Percy Julian’s life, this activity may be assigned as an assessment activity. In a class in which students need to be motivated toward success, this activity could be assigned as a motivating tool, and Julian’s biography might be used as a case-study resource.
Time Required 15–20 minutes discussion of assignment in class; time for your students to write outside of class, as appropriate; one period for sharing and discussing student essays and ideas.
Student Ability Level and Grouping Variable.
Assessment The written assignment may be evaluated for content only, for content supported by evidence from Julian’s life, or for opinion only.
Student Resources for Further Study

Phi Beta Kappa

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund


This activity meets the following National Science Education Standards (Grades 5-8) and Curriculum Standards for Social Studies.

National Science Education Standards (Grades 5-8)

History and Nature of Science

  • Science as a human endeavor
  • History of science

Curriculum Standards for Social Studies

  • Individual Development and Identity
  • Individuals, Groups, and Institutions

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