mardi, juin 11, 2024
Home Education Implementation of ‘Girl power – historical figures' (SOI-IT-477)

Implementation of ‘Girl power – historical figures’ (SOI-IT-477)

The learning scenario was implemented within the context of a science curriculum, focusing on the topic of radioactivity and the contributions of women in science. The educational setting was second class of a middle school, catering to students aged between 11 to 12 years old. The class is made up of 20 students including 6 special needs students. The subjects involved are Science and Art.

 For the implementation of this learning scenario, I designed a multi-dimensional approach to engage students in learning about the life and work of Marie Skłodowska. The objective was to not only impart knowledge about her scientific contributions but also to inspire students with her perseverance and courage. 

The scenario was designed to align with curriculum objectives while fostering critical thinking, creativity, and historical appreciation among students. By integrating Curie’s story into the curriculum, the implementation aimed to inspire students to pursue scientific inquiry and overcome challenges with resilience and determination. In this project, students will delve into the remarkable life of Marie Curie, a pioneering scientist whose groundbreaking work in radioactivity continues to inspire generations. 

Through a multi-faceted approach, we explored Curie’s scientific achievements but also examined the societal context of her time, particularly focusing on gender disparities in the field of science.

The implementation of the learning scenario involved a structured series of sessions designed to engage students in various aspects of Marie Curie’s life and scientific achievements. In the initial session:

Storytelling by Marie Curie

This session will last approximately 20 minutes and feature a brief lecture supplemented with a presentation that includes photographs and historical documents from Europeana and other websites. Students embarked on a journey through Marie Curie’s life, from her childhood in Poland to her groundbreaking discoveries in France. Using visual aids such as photographs and illustrations, we vividly depicted Curie’s journey, highlighting key milestones and the challenges she faced as a woman in science. Additionally, we explored the complexities of Curie’s personal life, including her relationship with a married man. When this relationship was discovered, Curie faced harsh condemnation, being not only ostracized from the scientific community. This tragic episode sheds light on the double standards and gender biases prevalent in Curie’s time, illustrating the challenges women faced in both their personal and professional lives.

Images from storytelling activity

Exploring Marie Curie’s Legacy

The MSCA (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions) project, inspired by the legacy of Marie Curie, aligns with our exploration of her life and scientific contributions. Both initiatives aim to foster research excellence and international collaboration, empowering students to delve into Curie’s pioneering spirit and pursue their passions in science, echoing Curie’s own dedication to advancing knowledge and breaking barriers in research.

Analysis of the Curies’ Published Works

Subsequent sessions were dedicated to delving into Marie Curie’s remarkable scientific contributions, focusing particularly on her groundbreaking research on radioactivity and the isolation of radium and polonium. To enhance comprehension, interactive simulations and videos were incorporated to illustrate key concepts of radioactivity and the experiments conducted by Curie. Furthermore, we explored how Marie Curie’s discovery of radioactivity catalyzed a revolution in medical research, notably in the field of cancer treatment. Students gained insight into how Curie’s pioneering efforts paved the way for advancements in radiation therapy, resulting in more effective treatments for cancer patients. These sessions spanned over two class periods, each lasting approximately one hour

Marie Curie through film

We deepened our understanding of Marie Curie’s life by viewing the film “Marie Curie, directed by Marie Noëlle” which offers a cinematic depiction of her challenges and achievements. Through this film, students gained insight into the societal norms and gender biases that characterized Curie’s era, witnessing how she courageously challenged these barriers to pursue her scientific passion. This session lasted approximately 190 minutes.

Laboratory activities

Pupils were divided into groups to conduct laboratory experience on pH, and determine the pH of some substances. This session lasted approximately 120 minutes. To immerse themselves in Curie’s scientific legacy, students participated in a laboratory experiment using red cabbage juice as an indicator to measure pH levels. Through this hands-on activity, students not only gained an understanding of acids and bases but also gained an appreciation for Curie’s pioneering spirit of inquiry and experimentation that transformed the field of chemistry.

Students at work in laboratory

Woman in Art and Science.

In addition to delving into the life and accomplishments of Marie Curie, we aimed to explore a significant theme regarding the portrayal of science women in history and art. Have you ever pondered the number of statues honouring women in the field of science erected throughout history? The students embarked on a research endeavour to unveil the count of monuments dedicated to female scientists worldwide. This task prompted students to contemplate the hurdles faced by women in science in their pursuit of acknowledgement for their contributions, underscoring the importance of commemorating female pioneers in both history and society. Through this research, students enhanced their understanding of gender-related issues and gained a deeper appreciation for the endeavours of remarkable figures such as Marie Curie, who triumphed over adversity to etch an enduring legacy in history.


Students gained a comprehensive understanding of Marie Curie’s life and scientific achievements, particularly her research on radioactivity and the isolation of radium and polonium. They were able to articulate the significance of Curie’s discoveries and their impact on science and medicine. Through these discussions and activities, students will gain a deeper understanding of Marie Curie’s enduring legacy as a trailblazing scientist and a symbol of perseverance in the face of adversity.

The exploration of Marie Curie’s struggles as a female scientist sparked discussions about gender inequality in the sciences. Students reflected on the barriers faced by women in STEM fields and considered the importance of diversity and inclusion in scientific research. By intertwining Curie’s scientific legacy with the exploration of gender dynamics in history, this project aims to inspire students to challenge stereotypes and pursue their passions, regardless of gender or societal expectations. Through Curie’s story, we will ignite curiosity, foster critical thinking, and empower students to embark on their own journeys of discovery.

As an educator, I gained valuable experience in utilizing resources from Europeana to enhance classroom instruction. The platform provided access to a wealth of historical documents, photographs, and multimedia materials that enriched the learning experience for students.

Inspired by the words of Marie Curie, ‘Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood,’ we encourage students to explore Curie’s life and scientific achievements. Through our project, we aim to promote understanding and acceptance of the challenges and successes in scientific research, encouraging students to pursue knowledge and face challenges with determination and courage, just as Marie Curie did in her life.

Link to the learning scenario implemented: Girl power – historical figures (LS-PT-702) – Teaching With Europeana (

Do you want to discover more stories of implementation? Click here.

CC BY 4.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Canary Islands Historical Photography Archive.

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