The Topic:

Easier - A biography is a written story of a person's life. It is also a type of book.
Harder - Biographies are written stories of a person's life that were written by someone else, while an autobiography is a person's story written by themselves. Biographies make past history more real and easier to understand by telling about real people and actual events. People reading the biography can satisfy their curiosity about well-known individuals and can experience historical events as though they were actually present.
A good biography presents the facts about the person's life including what the subject did and how they influenced their world. It should describe the person's personality and provide an explanation for why he or she acted in certain ways. Most biographies are interpretive; they not only present the facts but also tell what those facts mean. Biographers make their writings accurate by learning as much as possible about their subjects. They study materials such as diaries, personal letters, and autobiographies. A good biography should be objective and balanced, but those lofty goals are not always achieved. Some biographers present a biased view by selectively presenting only the facts that portray the subject in either a favorable or an unflattering way.
Explore over 25,000 short biographies of people from around the world.
Biographical Dictionary
This dictionary contains information about over 28,000 people from past and present. The dictionary can be searched by birth years, death years, positions held, professions, literary and artistic works, achievements, and other keywords.
Pages Within the Site:
2) Biographical Dictionary Links
3) Ideas for Students and Teachers
Homework Center - Biographies
This site provides links to common student project topics related to people.
Another Biography Links-site:
2) Biography Links for School Children (Northern Trails AEA)
3) Smithsonian Spotlight
Information Please: People
Explore biographies by category (such as sports, Presidents and Vice Presidents, Supreme Court justices, entertainers, business and world leaders) or do a search for a person.
You may also want to visit these related 42eXplore biography projects from eduScapes: (1) Biographies of Folksingers, (2) Biographies of the Harlem Renaissance, (3) Biographies of the Industrial Revolution, (4) Biographies of Jazz Musicians, (5) Biographies of the Nuclear Age, (6) Biographies of Peacemakers, (7) Biographies of the Renaissance, (8) Biographies of World War II, (9) Explorers - A to Z, (10) Native American Biographies - A to Z, (11) People of the Old West, (12) Presidents of the United States, (13) Revolutionary War Biographies, (14) Rock 'n Roll Biographies, (15) Scientists / Inventors in Electricity, and (16) World War I Biographies. Also you will find biography information within these 42explore projects: (17) Charles Dickens,
(18) Lewis and Clark Expedition, (19) Mark Twain, (20) Martin Luther King Jr., (21) and William Shakespeare. Finally the following sites also contain biography sections within the project: (22) Classical Music, (23) Fantasy & Science Fiction, (24) Flight, (25) Inventors and Inventions, and (26) Women's Suffrage Movement
Visit several of these biography websites, then select and complete one or more of these activities.
Who Would You Like to See on a Wheaties Box? Explore the life of a famous person and create a cereal box honoring their life.
Create a People Poem. Write a people poem. Think about a word poem using the letters in the person's name. Or, create a shape poem using words and ideas about the person to form a shape that reflects the person's life. Think about other types of poems you've written. Choose a format that fits the personality of your person.
Write Your Own Biography. Use The Biography Maker ( to create your own biography.
Create a Biography Mobile. Create a mobile showing each aspects of a person's life. Include pictures, dates, and maps.
Play a Biography Game. Try the Master Biography Challenge ( and the Who is That ( quiz.
Choose the Best in a Career. Explore people in a particular subject area such as (1) Famous Mathematicians ( or (2) American President ( Use the (3) Academy of Achievement: Gallery ( to find other careers. What made this person special in their area of study? What special skills or talents did they have? How did they use these? Nominate this person for an award. Write a short speech of support.
Pick the Person of the Year. Who do you think was the most important person of the year, century, or millennium? How about focusing on a particular area such as art, music, science, or politics. Use some of the following sites to see what other people think. Use (1) Time 100 Poll (, and (2) Time Man of the Year ( Do you agree or disagree with their choices? Make your own class list.
Create a Biography Stamp. Explore the website titled Their Stamp on History ( Create a stamp for a person you think has made a major contribution to their area.
Use Find a Grave. Use Find A Grave ( to learn about the burial location of a subject. Then, learn about their life. Use the grave photo in your project. Create a map of this person's life. Where did they live during their life?
Complete a Biography WebQuest. Follow or adapt the instructions found at one of these webQuest sites:
1) BiographyWebQuest (E. Tribe and D. Sproat, Grade 7)
2) Famous Black American Biography WebQuest by C. Holland & D. Mentzer . . .
Websites By Kids For Kids
Famous Mathematicians
This student-produced site contains information about famous mathematicians.
Great People of the 20th Century (ThinkQuest Project)
Explore people who made history in the past century. The resources are organized by theme or date. The site also has a search option.
USA: Index to Biographies
Biographies on US topics by students in the Netherlands.
More Websites Newsmaker Bios
Explore biographies of world leaders and celebrities who make the news.
Academy of Achievement: Gallery
Explore achievers by category including arts, business, public service, science & exploration, sports, American dream, passion, vision, preparation, courage, perseverance, and integrity. This website contains both video and audio.
American President
Explore US presidents and presidential history resources.
Biography and Autobiography Resources: Children's and Young Adults' Literature from the Internet School Library Media Center
This is a great links-site that connects to a variety of biography resources.
Biography Maker
Use this online tool to create your own biography. Simply follow the steps in the process including choosing a topic, researching the answers to questions, pulling together resources, and creating a story. Use the template to create your own web page.
Distinguished Women of Past and Present
Locate biographical information about women of the past and present. Information is available by name and subject.
Other Women's Sites:
2) 4000 Years of Women in Science
3) Biographies of Notable Women in History at
4) Gale Group - Women
5) Living Legacy Awards
6) National First Ladies' Library
7) National Women's Hall of Fame
8) WIC Biography Index
Faces of Science: African Americans in the Sciences
African American chemists, biologists, inventors, engineers, and mathematicians have contributed in both large and small ways to the rich history of science.
Gale Group
Explore the free resources from the Gale Group. The website includes sections for different groups.
Specific Group Pages:
2) Black Heritage
3) Hispanic Heritage
4) Poets
Great Economists
Learn about the great economists.
Island of Freedom
Explore the lives of great theologians, philosophers, poets, composers, and artists.
Lives, the Biography Resource
This website provides links to thousands of websites containing biographies, autobiographies, narratives, oral histories, and other information about people. Their special collections include African Americans, women, US Civil War, survivors, and Canadian, Australians, and Latinos.
Nobel Prize Internet Archive
Explore information about the Nobel Prize. Explore the Nobel categories of literature, physics, chemistry, peace, economics, and physiology & medicine.
Related Website:
2) Nobel Prize
Their Stamp on History
This educational website explores the lives of important historical people through their pictures on postage stamps. Topics include activists, Hollywood, artists, athletes, doctors and nurses, explorers, inventors, lawyers and judges, leaders, musicians, scientists, and writers.
Who's Who in American History
Explore information about people in American history. Information is presented by name, era, occupation, and photos.
Other History Biography Sites:
2) Biographies - Late Medieval Period
3) Colonial Hall
Teacher Resources
A and E Classroom Study Guides
This website contains links to classroom study guides to supplement many A&E programs. These guides are worthwhile even if you don't watch the videos.
Biography Chat at Education World (Grades 3-12)
Students use the television talk-show format to conduct mock interviews with famous people in history.
Other Related Biography Sites at Education World:
2) Building on Biographies
3) Great Sites for Teaching About Biographies
4) Monologues, Poems, and Time Lines--Biography Lessons Made Easy! (Curriculum Article) - Classroom
This page contains lots of ideas for integrating biographies into your classroom. Check out the study guides including vocabulary, discussion questions, and classroom activities.
Tour de Force on the Tour de France (New York Times Learning Network Lesson Plan, Grades 6-12) . . .
In this lesson, students learn about the obstacles that Lance Armstrong overcame to become the second American winner of the Tour de France as a springboard to further investigating qualities of people whom they admire.
oral history
laudable qualities
role model
Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 1/01. Updated by the King Family, 9/04.