Coach John looks at the life of Albert Einstein, the theoretical physicist. 

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Useful Vocabulary

  1. struggle: (v) to work hard to solve a task or problem
  2. fail: (v) to be unsuccessful (in doing):
  3. not amount to anything: (phrase) to not become successful or important
  4. compass: (n) an instrument for determining directions.
  5. needle: (n) a small, slender, rodlike instrument, usually of polished steel
  6. milestones: (n) a significant or important event in history
  7. gifted: (adj) having special talent or ability
  8. thrive: (v) prosperous and growing
  9. judge: (v) to form a judgment or opinion of; decide upon critically


Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, Württemberg, Germany on 14th March 1879. He was born into a Jewish family and had a sister called Maja.

Surprisingly, Einstein didn’t really like school that much. But of course he loved maths and science. Einstein did struggle with language though, and didn’t really talk until he was four years old. And he failed exams in French, chemistry and biology. One teacher told him that he “would not amount to anything.” A Stanford economist actually used the term ‘Einstein Syndrome’ to describe it and other people like Einstein, when really intelligent people’s speech is delayed.

His father owned his own electronics company where Einstein learned about science and electronics. His was bought his first compass when he was five years old. The curious child that he was, Einstein was fascinated by it and wanted to discover why the needle always pointed north. 

Einstein said an important moment in his early life was when he read a book about geometry. He called this book his ‘sacred little geometry book’.

When he was 15 years old, He and his family moved to Milan in Italy. He then went to the Polytechnic Academy in the Swiss city of Zurich. In 1900, he graduated with a degree in physics and maths.

Einstein wasn’t always a scientist. After graduating he actually decided to go into teaching but he couldn’t find any jobs.

He got a job at the Patent Office in Berlin. This allowed him to look at other people’s inventions. While working here, he also worked on his own theories and discoveries that would one day become world-famous.

Einstein moved to America in 1933 because of the increasingly difficult lives of Jewish people living in Germany at the time. This was because of Hitler and the Nazi party who were against Jewish people. When in America, he took a position at the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton and took US citizenship.

Einstein died at the age of 76 from heart failure on 18 April 1955. He did want to combine all of his ideas together with one big theory before he died, but sadly never managed to. After his death, his brain was actually removed and kept for research to try and work out how he was such a genius.

  1. Give a summary of the text to your coach and/or classmates.
  2. What was surprising about Einstein’s time at school?
  3. What events in his early life sparked his interest in science?
  4. Why did Einstein move to the USA?
  5. What happened to his brain when he died?
  6. Read the text on page 2. In your own words explain Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.
  7. What is the ‘Einstein Syndrome’ of speech development in children? 
  8. Which famous Einstein quotes do you like? Talk about what they mean to you.