Amazing Marie Curie: Free English Lesson About People

50-minute English Lesson

In this free English lesson about people, learn about Marie Curie and discover why she was such a special scientist.

Free English Lesson about Marie Curie
Marie Cure created a path for women in science

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Curie

Marie Curie won two Nobel Prizes and was the first female professor employed by a European university. Her life is a story of focus, difficulty and achievement.

She was born in Poland in 1867. When she was eleven, her oldest sister and mother died. Despite these considerable challenges, she graduated high school as the top student.

Marie and her other sister dreamed about attending university in France, but they did not have enough money. So they made a plan. Marie worked and paid for her sister’s education. After her sister graduated, she paid for Marie’s education.

Marie worked as a home teacher. In her spare time, she read science books. When she was 24, she went to university in Paris.

She did not have much money so she survived on bread, butter and tea. She was often tired and ill. Although student life was tough, Marie finished as the top student in her class.

While working in a lab doing experiments, she met a bright scientist and researcher. He was Pierre Curie. They married in 1895.

In 1903, they won the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work with radioactivity. Initially, the Nobel team did not want to give the honor to a woman. Pierre complained and demanded that Marie share the award.

Pierre died in an accident a few years later. The day after the funeral, Marie returned to work. One month later, she was teaching at Sorbonne University. She took Pierre’s old job. That is how Marie became the first female professor in Europe.

Marie won a second Nobel Prize in 1911. This one was a chemistry prize for her work with radium and polonium. Radium was important for x-rays and treating cancer.

Marie died in 1934 from a disease caused by radiation. One year later, her daughter Irene won a chemistry Nobel Prize.

Marie Curie was a talented scientist. Her life teaches us that success requires drive and courage.

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Free English Lesson about People

Audio

Here is the listening file for this lesson.

Listening level: 4
Audio file: 2:26 min
Story length: 308 words

Free English Lesson about Marie curie
Curie worked a lot with radium (Ra)

Quiz: Marie Curie

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Let's check with a True-False quiz.

English listening lesson: Gap Fill

Listen to the free English Lesson about curie again and fill in the blanks.

Marie Curie won two Nobel Prizes and was the first female ________ employed by a European university. Her life is a story of focus, difficulty and ________ .

She was born in Poland in ________ . When she was eleven, her oldest sister and mother died. Despite these ________ challenges, she graduated high school as the top student.

Marie and her other sister dreamed about ________ university in France, but they did not have ________ money. So they made a plan. Marie worked and paid for her sister’s education. After her sister ________ , she paid for Marie’s education.

Marie worked as a home teacher. In her ________ time, she read science books. When she was ________ , she went to ________ in Paris.

She did not have much money so she ________ on bread, butter and tea. She was often tired and ________ . Although student life was ________ , Marie finished as the top student in her class.

While working in a lab doing ________ , she met a bright ________ and researcher. He was Pierre Curie. They married in ________ .

In 1903, they won the Nobel Prize in ________ for their work with radioactivity. Initially, the Nobel team did not want to give the honor to a woman. Pierre ________ and demanded that Marie share the award.

Pierre died in an ________ a few years later. The day after the funeral, Marie ________ ______ work. One month later, she was teaching at Sorbonne University. She took Pierre’s old job. That is how Marie became the first female ________ in Europe.

Marie won a ________ Nobel Prize in ________ . This one was a ________ prize for her work with radium and polonium. Radium was important for x-rays and ________ cancer.

Marie died in ________ from a ________ caused by radiation. One year later, her ________ Irene won a chemistry Nobel Prize.

Marie Curie was a scientist. Her life teaches us that success requires drive and ________ .

ESL discussion questions

Talk about the esl story.

  1. Describe this story’s setting.
  2. Outline the critical steps that lead to Marie’s success.
  3. Does serendipity play a role in her story?
  4. Why do you think the Nobel committee hesitated to give Curie an award?
  5. Why do you think Marie went back to work so soon after her husband’s death?
  6. Describe how modern life might be different without her work and courage.

Synonym match

MATCH THE WORD OR PHRASE ON THE LEFT WITH THE CORRECT SYNONYM.

1. focus
2. spare 
3. ill
4. bright 
5. talented 
a. extra
b. sickly
c. concentration
d. skilled
e. intelligent

ESL listening activity: anagrams

MOVE THE LETTERS. MAKE A WORD FROM THE ESL LISTENING STORY.

  1. VIDRE
  2. ANLIYLIIT
  3. RNOOH
  4. SSIDEAE
  5. UTOHG
  6. DMADREE

Writing practice

Write the five sentences. Put the words in the correct order.

  • was / in / 24 / she / When / she / university / to / Paris / went
  • home / worked / as / Marie / a / teacher
  • focus / of / a / and / achievement / difficulty / is / life / story / Her
  • and / scientist / While / she / lab / bright / doing / a / researcher / in / met / working / experiments / a
  • how / in / professor / female / first / Marie / became / is / Europe / the / That

Another ESL listening story

Try another free English lesson? How about this tasty lesson about pizza. You’ll learn the answer to one of life’s great questions: was pizza really invented in Italy?

Watch a video and take notes

Did you like this online English lesson about Marie Curie? How about a short video? Watch this trailer for a movie about Marie called Radioactive.

  1. Watch the video.
  2. Take notes.
  3. Make a list with at least eight facts.

Get the worksheet

Want to print out the free English lesson about people? Click to download the PDF worksheet.

The cover image used in this post is believed to be in the public domain.

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