I came across a useful article pouring over some old NSTA magazines -- Using Biographical Letters to Draw on the Nature of Science by William Medina-Jerez, Wayne Melville, and Dale Walker.
"Science is a human activity with a rich, colorful, and controversial history. Teaching science from a historical perspective can influence the way students perceive, understand, and apply scientific concepts and processes."
How true! The article brought to mind the story of Nikolai Vavilov in my latest book, THE STORY OF SEEDS. Vavilov's story, crucial to the history of seed science, farming, and food, shaped my ongoing research for the book and my writing. I found his story compelling and worth sharing with my readers. By the time I finished visiting Russia and writing the book I felt as if Vavilov was a personal friend.
Readers of THE STORY OF SEEDS might take the suggestion of the article's authors and write a biographical letter about Vavilov, Burbank, or Mendel.
Other books that might inspire this activity for your classroom include Deborah Heiligman's Charles and Emma, Susan Campbell Bartoletti's Terrible Typhoid Mary, and Anita Silver's Untamed