Marie Curie Lesson for Kids: Facts & Biography

Instructor: Claire DeSaussure

Claire has worked in behavioral programs at the Elementary Level and has an MLS with a focus on Creative Writing.

Marie Sklodowska-Curie was a famous scientist. She is most remembered for her brilliant work in chemistry and physics, and she discovered two elements on the periodic table.


I'm sure you've probably won a prize for something. Maybe you won a basketball trophy, or a medal in the spelling bee. But I bet you didn't know that one of the most famous medals that adults want to win is the Nobel Prize. Marie Curie was not only the first woman to win the prize - she won it twice!

Early Life

Marie Sklodowska was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1867. Her father was a schoolteacher and the family did not have enough money to pay the bills, so they rented rooms to people to make ends meet. One of the people that rented a room had typhus, which is a disease that causes fever, chills and eventually death. Marie's sister caught the disease and died in 1876. Marie's mother died two years later when Marie was only ten years old.

A Marriage of Minds

When Marie went to college in Paris, she needed laboratory space for her work on metal. She was told that Pierre Curie, another scientist, might have space. Pierre helped her find space and admired her work and personality. Pierre asked Marie to marry him, and they got married on July 26th, 1895. Together they worked on discovering elements that give off radiation ,which is energy that is so tiny it cannot be seen with the human eye. Through this research, they discovered polonium and radium.

Marie Curie in her Lab
Marie Curie

Nobel Prizes

The Nobel Prize is a prize given to only the most brilliant people. In 1903, the prize was awarded to Henri Becquerel, Pierre Curie and Marie Curie for their work in physics. At first, the people who gave the award did not think Marie should be a winner because she was a woman. Pierre insisted they include Marie, and they eventually did so.

Pierre was killed in 1906 when he was run over by a horse and carriage. Marie was very upset that her partner in life and science was dead. Marie decided she would work even harder, and in 1911 her hard work paid off. This time Marie was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry.

The Nobel Prize Medal
Nobel Prize

A Caring Woman

Marie was not only a brilliant scientist; she was also someone who helped others. During World War I France collected precious metals like gold and silver to pay for the war. Marie wanted to give them her Nobel Prize medals, but the French thought they were so important that they did not take them.

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