TeachersFirst's Inventors and Inventions Resources

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Invent and Innovate! This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers, parents, and students learn about inventors and inventions. Use these resources for science or social studies lessons and activities about innovation and invention, in observance of National Inventors' Day (celebrated on February 11, Thomas Edison's birthday),  or at any time during the school year. Whether you are simply learning about the history of invention or planning a schoolwide Invention Convention, these resources will provide inspiration and project possibilities.

 

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Be Inventive

Grades
4 to 8
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Here's a classroom activity from the Boston Museum of Science that asks students to create their own inventions to solve a problem of their own choosing. Based arounsd Leonardo DaVinci's...more
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Here's a classroom activity from the Boston Museum of Science that asks students to create their own inventions to solve a problem of their own choosing. Based arounsd Leonardo DaVinci's and the properties of simple machines, the unit asks students to design their own invention.

tag(s): inventors and inventions (101), leonardo davinci (4)

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A Medieval Technology Timeline

Grades
5 to 12
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There's more here than meets the eye. This site offers a time-line showing the evolution of simple tools and technologies during the middle ages. Those who are persistent will also...more
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There's more here than meets the eye. This site offers a time-line showing the evolution of simple tools and technologies during the middle ages. Those who are persistent will also find more detailed drawings and explanations of the various implements. This is a great site to show how major changes can arise from simple inventions.

tag(s): feudalism (3), inventors and inventions (101), medieval (27)

In the Classroom

Use this site to find time-lines to supplement your classroom discussions and lectures throughout your curriculum. Share the time-lines on the interactive whiteboard or projector during instruction to aid student understanding of the succession of events. This would be extremely useful for any Social Studies classroom.

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Who Invented it? When? Chinese Inventions: An Introductory Activity - Ask Asia

Grades
5 to 12
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Learn about Chinese inventors and deflate erroneous stereotypes about Chinese technology. From the Ask Asia series. ...more
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Learn about Chinese inventors and deflate erroneous stereotypes about Chinese technology. From the Ask Asia series.

tag(s): asia (73), china (66), inventors and inventions (101)

In the Classroom

Use this free lesson plan in class during a unit on Chinese inventions and innovations. Make sure to mention the years inventions were made while performing the activity, students will be amazed just how many inventions we use today were made almost 3 thousand years ago!

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Engineering Achievements of the Twentieth Century

Grades
6 to 12
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Creating by a professional engineering society, this site provides a short narrative and time line for 20th century engineering achievements in more than a dozen different categories....more
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Creating by a professional engineering society, this site provides a short narrative and time line for 20th century engineering achievements in more than a dozen different categories. The site highlights both the accomplishments and the people who made them happen, and it often includes simple explanations of the engineering principles behind those achievements. Great supplement to an invention unit, or as a brainstorming tool for engineering or science competitions.

tag(s): design (84), engineering (125)

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Nikola Tesla, Inventor

Grades
5 to 12
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This site features Serbian inventor Nikola Tesla, inventor of a telephone repeater, rotating magnetic field principle, polyphase alternating-current system, induction motor, alternating-current...more
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This site features Serbian inventor Nikola Tesla, inventor of a telephone repeater, rotating magnetic field principle, polyphase alternating-current system, induction motor, alternating-current power transmission, Tesla coil transformer, wireless communication, radio, fluorescent lights, and more than 700 other patents. It is a small site, but includes a biography and quotes from the scientist as well as links for student researchers to learn more.

tag(s): electricity (89), inventors and inventions (101), radio (27)

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Inventure Place - The National Inventors Hall of Fame, Akron, Ohio

Grades
5 to 12
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Read about kids around the US who have invented their own products. The site is indexed and searchable. Students could easily use these biographies to start a research project, or ...more
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Read about kids around the US who have invented their own products. The site is indexed and searchable. Students could easily use these biographies to start a research project, or you can post them on a bulletin board.Help inspire your students!

tag(s): inventors and inventions (101)

In the Classroom

Open the link entitled "inventor's tool kit" on the interactive whiteboard or projector, and use it to create an inspiring discussion about inventions with students. Or print out the information in the Inventor's tool kit, and use it as a learning center. This specific activity calls for a lot of individual brainstorming, so results could be posted on a display board for kids to display their creativity!

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Exploring Leonardo - Boston Museum of Science

Grades
4 to 12
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An excellent site approaching Science through Leonardo DaVinci. Site includes The Inventors Workshop, (showing Leonardo's inventions), Leonardo's Perspective, a Biography and a section...more
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An excellent site approaching Science through Leonardo DaVinci. Site includes The Inventors Workshop, (showing Leonardo's inventions), Leonardo's Perspective, a Biography and a section about his habit of writing from right to left! There are 4 pages with interactive elements and 5 lesson plans including hands on activities. Students can comment and send their ideas electronically to the Museum staff. Four stars from our reviewer!!

tag(s): inventors and inventions (101), renaissance (34)

In the Classroom

Within the inventors workshop are a set of classroom activities that would be useful in a unit about the renaissance, or it could even be stretched to cover the inventions of the Industrial Revolution. Within the Introductory letter there are also 5 lesson plans that can also be utilized. Save this site as a favorite on your desktop, to allow you to reference it at any time.

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The Rube Goldberg Site - Rube Goldberg, Inc.

Grades
4 to 8
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This fun site offers a retrospective on Rube Goldberg's wacky inventions and includes examples of how present-day engineering students devise 20-step ways of accomplishing simple tasks....more
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This fun site offers a retrospective on Rube Goldberg's wacky inventions and includes examples of how present-day engineering students devise 20-step ways of accomplishing simple tasks. The site is a great "idea site" for students getting used to invention and problem solving.

tag(s): puzzles (208)

In the Classroom

Review the invention pictures included on this site on a projector or whiteboard as an activator activity for an inventions unit. Have students draw or design their own machine for performing a similar every-day task.

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Forgotten Inventors - PBS

Grades
5 to 8
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Only few inventors become famous, but those that do not may be forgotten even though their inventions remain important. This site chronicles some of the forgotten creative minds that...more
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Only few inventors become famous, but those that do not may be forgotten even though their inventions remain important. This site chronicles some of the forgotten creative minds that gave us inventions still in common use today.

tag(s): inventors and inventions (101)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a starting point for individual or group projects on inventions. Have students choose a "forgotten" invention on the site, or have them research the background of another invention that they use every day.

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Google

Grades
2 to 12
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Use this most-popular search engine because it ranks results by a unique combination of popularity and reputability, making the most reputable/popular sites appear in the first page...more
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Use this most-popular search engine because it ranks results by a unique combination of popularity and reputability, making the most reputable/popular sites appear in the first page of results. Don't stop there, however. Learn to use the Advanced searching tools, such as searching for definitions (add definition to your search terms), or even a timeline display of results, where applicable.

tag(s): search engines (65)

In the Classroom

If you ask students to research a person or any topic that has chronological elements, such as a historical event, an arts movement, a biography, an author, etc, add view:timeline as an additional search term, as in thomas edison inventions view:timeline . Try it! For more Google tricks, do a TeachersFirst keyword search on google for other resources and ideas for using Google.

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Aviation Education: - Federal Aviation Administration

Grades
6 to 12
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From the Federal Aviation Administration, this site includes links to many of the sites listed here. Also links to a skit written for elementary and middle school students, and ...more
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From the Federal Aviation Administration, this site includes links to many of the sites listed here. Also links to a skit written for elementary and middle school students, and instructions for building a 1903 Flyer out of Styrofoam. There is a downloadable Wright Brothers Curriculum Guide, and an Orville and Wilber Wright Activity Guide. The downside of this site is that nearly everything must be downloaded and cannot be previewed first, so you spend time waiting for the download without knowing what you're getting first.

tag(s): aviation (39), flight (36), wright brothers (25)

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