Power to the Peanut

Power to the Peanut lesson plan

What can you make with peanuts? Much more than PB&J! Discover George Washington Carver's botanical contributions to science and everyday life.

  • 1.

    Why are hundreds of schools across the United States named after a botanist (a person who studies plants)? George Washington Carver studied art in college but he is famous for his work as a botanist. Carver used his knowledge of plants to help change the crops grown in the southern United States. He encouraged the idea of crop rotation. He promoted the ideas of growing plants that enriched rather than depleted the soil, such as soybeans and peanuts. During Carver's lifetime, he created more than 300 products made from peanuts and more than 118 from sweet potatoes.

  • 2.

    Although many companies wanted to hire Carver to work for them, he felt it was important for him to teach college students. His work elevated the study of farming to a scientific level. He worked for more than 50 years at the Tuskegee Institute, a school dedicated to African American education. Continue to research the life and work of George Washington Carver to learn more about his contributions to science and everyday life.

  • 3.

    On white paper, use Crayola® Colored Pencils to draw a picture of Dr. Carver. Highlight what you learned about this significant American scientist. Make drawings of some of his peanut and sweet potato products, or other images to demonstrate your knowledge about his work.

  • 4.

    Cut out your small drawings and attach them to your poster with Crayola School Glue to make a 3-D display.


  • Students locate information about the life and research of African American botanist George Washington Carver.
  • Students identify how Carver's knowledge of botany contributed to improvement of farming practices and introduction of new products made from peanuts and sweet potatoes.
  • Students organize their findings into a visual presentation that highlights Carver's research and accomplishments.


  • Celebrate Peanut Butter Lover's Month in November. Make a chart or graph showing the number of students in your school who love, do not care for, or are allergic to peanut butter.
  • Count and record the names of products that contain peanuts or peanut derivatives found in your home. Children who are allergic to peanuts make a list of similar products found on grocery shelves or research them in print and electronic sources.
  • Try to replicate some of Carver's botanical experiments. What peanut and sweet potato products have been invented since Carver's time?
  • Find more information about Carver's childhood. He was born sometime in 1864 in Diamond Grove, Missouri. His parents were slaves, and the slaveholder's name was Carver. Where did he attend school? Why did he change from the study of art to botany? At what other state university did he do research? Carver died on January 5, 1943, which is celebrated as George Washington Carver day.