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Lesson 13 – George Washington Carver

Read About George Washington Carver


Read the vocabulary terms to understand the reading better.


Cotton is a natural fibre used to make cloth and other goods.


An inventor is a person who makes a new device that performs some kind of work.


Nutrients are the things that plants or animals need to grow and to stay healthy.


A scientist is a person who studies or has expertise in science, who asks questions and does extensive research to find answers.


Soil is a mixture of minerals and organisms that cover most of the earth’s surface and is where plants grow.

George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver was a scientist and inventor. Sometimes he was called “the farmer’s best friend.”

Growing Up

George was born in the 1860s in Missouri. Like his parents, George was a slave. Child slaves had to work hard on farms. George was often sick and too weak to work on a farm. He went to school instead.

George was a very good student. He liked science most of all. He went to university and became an expert on plants. Later, he went to teach at a university in Alabama.

Helping Farmers

Many farmers in Alabama grew cotton. As cotton grows, it takes lots of nutrients from the soil. After a few years, the soil does not have enough nutrients to grow strong, healthy cotton plants. George found a way to solve this problem.

George discovered that peanut and pea plants put nutrients back into the soil. He told farmers not to grow cotton in the same field every year. He said to plant peas or peanuts some years to give the soil more nutrients. The next year, farmers could grow cotton in that field again.

George invented many new ways for people to use the plants farmers grew. Peanut butter is one of his most famous inventions. He also discovered how to make paint from soybeans.

George died on January 5, 1943. Each year, the United States celebrates January 5 as George Washington Carver Day.

Pea field

To learn more about George Washington Carver, watch the video by SciShow Kids on Youtube.

Now Show What You Know!

Complete some questions about the reading selection by clicking “Begin Questions” below.