TeachersFirst's Inventors and Inventions Resources
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.
Explore all of TeachersFirst's resources tagged inventors and inventions for more ideas.
Grades3 to 12
tag(s): adaptations (13), africa (134), amazon (10), animals (270), archeology (24), architecture (63), aviation (34), california (15), central america (15), chemicals (39), climate change (84), colors (62), coral (10), dinosaurs (37), earth (179), earthquakes (43), ecosystems (71), endangered species (26), evolution (87), first ladies (4), flight (30), fossils (40), france (37), insects (67), inventors and inventions (69), italy (15), machines (14), magnetism (34), martin luther king (41), medieval (31), mexico (29), migration (45), molecules (39), moon (69), peru (6), presidents (117), railroads (12), rainforests (16), respiration (10), romans (33), shakespeare (90), south africa (11), van gogh (8), virtual field trips (79), volcanoes (54), women (116), world war 1 (64)
In the ClassroomBe sure to take advantage of the guide included on this site on how to take a virtual field trip. In addition, the guide offers suggestions and lesson plans for making the most of virtual field trips. Use any of the included field trips as an engaging introduction to many different topics. For example, several different field trips take viewers under the oceans and use these excursions to introduce a unit on ocean animals, climate change, or oceans worldwide. Use Google Jamboard, reviewed here, for students to share notes, questions, and information learned throughout the activity. Instead of assigning a typical research project, ask students to create a virtual field trip using Google My Maps, reviewed here. Learn the basics of creating with Google My Maps by viewing the archive of a November 2021 OK2Ask virtual workshop, reviewed here.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomBlackPast is a must-have for any social studies classroom. Bookmark this resource to use when learning about Black history, African-American biographies, important events, and more. Consider creating a Padlet, reviewed here, to save different articles from BlackPast for students to easily access specific information. Use the shelf option to divide your Padlet into sections by date, topic, or events. Padlet also has a timeline feature when creating biographies or highlighting important dates within a specific time. Ask students to create blogs using Edublogs, reviewed here, to share information learned from this site. As students prepare to "show what they know," modify their technology use by asking them to use Sway, reviewed here, as a presentation tool and include images, videos, and student writing to share their learning.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomAs students participate in the activities and lessons shared on this site, utilize the many features of Google Documents or Microsoft Word to gather information, and collaborate with peers. Use spreadsheet tools to record findings and create graphs to evaluate the results of experiments. Engage students in the learning process by adding questions and comments to the videos in the learning packages using edpuzzle, reviewed here. Ask students to use Sway, reviewed here, to share the products of their learning activities. Add text, images, videos, and more to create multimedia presentations. Use the learning packages to find activities and resources to incorporate into your current learning units. Be sure to check out the interactives (games) that focus on problem-solving and collaboration skills.
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomInclude this resource with other content when teaching science concepts. Include a link to specific sections of the site for use as non-fiction reading content. Instead of having students draw a poster to share information about animals or plants, enhance learning by asking them to annotate an image using Google Drawings, reviewed here. Google Drawings allows you to annotate an image with links to videos, text, websites, and more. Not familiar with Google Drawings? Watch an archived OK2Ask session to learn how to use OK2Ask Google Drawings, here. Extend your students' knowledge by setting up a Global Virtual Classroom, reviewed here with a classroom in a different part of the world to compare and contrast your environments.
Grades4 to 12
tag(s): animals (270), architecture (63), art history (82), aviation (34), black history (112), civil war (130), dinosaurs (37), explorers (61), images (254), inventors and inventions (69), Learning Management Systems (22), oceans (139), scientists (62), shakespeare (90), Teacher Utilities (133), volcanoes (54)
In the ClassroomThe Smithsonian Learning Lab is a must-add to your list of classroom bookmarks! Search for collections and information throughout the year on all topics. Add a link to classroom computers for the entire site or specific collections. Be sure to take advantage of the many features of this site to create customized collections, then have students add additional resources. Have students create quizzes for review of topics. Enhance student learning by challenging them to create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Canva Infographic Maker, reviewed here.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomWhether an elementary, middle, or high school teacher you'll find ideas for building model rockets and more. Use an interactive whiteboard or projector and start by viewing the video on the home page titled Extraordinary Innovations. Or, in your blended or flipped class have students watch the video at home and enhance their learning by using playposit, reviewed here, to take notes, make comments, or ask questions to document what they learned from the video. Be sure to have a small or whole group discussion about what they learned from the video using their notes & comments the next day! At the end of your lesson or unit on patents and trademarks, transform learning by challenging students to create a timeline for the invention of the snowboard, or motorcycles, or another topic of interest. Why not modify classroom technology and make this an interactive timeline with music, photos, videos, and more using Timeline JS, reviewed here.
Grades7 to 12
tag(s): 20th century (50), architecture (63), authors (100), business (48), differentiation (74), endangered species (26), equations (117), financial literacy (93), greeks (30), human body (92), inventors and inventions (69), logic (162), medicine (54), mental math (18), numbers (120), photography (128), poetry (182), psychology (66), short stories (18), surrealism (2), weather (159), women (116)
In the ClassroomHighbrow is perfect for differentiated learning. Allow students to choose their own topic and sign up for a course. When complete, choose another topic and start a new course. Modify classroom technology by having students create commercials for finished courses using Powtoon, reviewed here, and share them using a tool such as TeacherTube, reviewed here. Challenge students to create a course after a unit of study as a final assessment. Be sure to include this site on your class webpage for students to access both in and outside of class for personal use.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site is perfect for use on your interactive whiteboard or with a projector. Explore the different portions together during your studies of the Renaissance, inventors, or artists such as Leonardo da Vinci. Share a link to this site on your class webpage for students to explore at home, or to use in your blended class activities. Add a link on classroom computers for use during computer centers. Have students replace paper and pen notes and take digital notes about what they are learnng using a tool like SimpleNote, reviewed here. Enhance students' learning by using Fakebook, reviewed here, to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about Leonardo da Vinci or other Renaissance artists. Extend student learning by challenging individuals and small groups to take one of the concepts they learned from Leonardo and apply it to something from today's world. Use a bulletin board tool like Lino, reviewed here, to record and save student ideas. With Lino you can create stickies with images, commenting, videos, and more. After individuals and small groups have devoloped their art, invention, etc., have them present their learning and their invention, art, etc. to peers using one of these multimedia tools: Click the tool name to access the review: Genially, Microsoft PowerPoint Online, Animatron, Renderforest, and Canva Inforgraphic Maker.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomStory of the Web is perfect for use on your interactive whiteboard or projector in a unit on technology and invention or in a computer literacy class. Share this site with students who have grown up on the Internet to provide an understanding of how quickly technology has developed. Compare it to the development of a human being over 25+ years! Have students create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Venngage, reviewed here. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram, reviewed here, comparing communication 25+ years ago to 2018.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse these activities to create contraptions for students to manipulate in class. As students use a manipulative, collect their questions about what they observe or wonder about the contraption's motion and characteristics. Students can research the science behind the object or motion. Use class discussion to create understanding about basic scientific principles. Be sure to include a link to this site on your classroom computer or website. Students can use these activities to teach concepts to other students in their class. Many of these activities make great demonstrations as an introduction to a science concept and for uncovering student misconceptions. Expand what you ask students to do by using creative writing, reading, creating Infographics, or learning correct ways to research and report findings about the subject matter. A suggested easy to use infographic creator is Canva Infographic Maker, reviewed here.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Have students explore this site independently or in small groups. There is one film about sanitation that refers to "poop," so you may want to avoid classroom giggles from less mature students by setting the tone for scientific viewing. Use as any part of a career unit, as a look at explorers and innovators, or when discussing character education. Be sure to include this site on your class web page for students to access both in and outside of class for further practice. Challenge students to choose a topic to further explore and create a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. Some tool suggestions are (click on the tool name to access the review): Infogram, Marq (formerly Lucidpress), Powtoon, and Vibby.
Grades4 to 12
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tag(s): inventors and inventions (69)
In the ClassroomFind information for science and technology reports on this site. Allow students to view the dates of many of the inventions to determine what scientific principle was just known to push technological thinking. For younger students, create a timeline of inventions to enhance learning and determine the impact of science, economy, and society on inventions. Use a site such as Sutori, reviewed here, that can include images, text, and collaboration. Ask older students to choose an invention and research other forms of that model, alternatives before and after, and what we are using today. Discuss environmental impacts, how the invention changed society, and other impacts.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomStudents doing research on the Wright brothers will find this site invaluable. Have students work in cooperative learning groups and research a specific topic found at this site. Exchange paper and pen notes by having students to take notes with an online tool like Simplenote, reviewed here. Have them share the info they learned with their small group. Tell students to be sure to save the URL to share their notes and questions. Simplenote allows you to access and update across all devices. Enhance learning by challenging students to modify their technology use and create a multimedia presentation using a tool such as Zeemaps, reviewed here. Zeemaps allows students to create audio recordings AND choose a location (on a map) where the story takes place. Alternatively, students could use Adobe Creative Cloud Express for Education, reviewed here, to enhance their learning and transform technology use by creating an interactive poster for their presentation.
Grades4 to 12
tag(s): inventors and inventions (69)
In the ClassroomChallenge students to create a list of useless inventions or to invent one of their own. Display the slide show on your interactive whiteboard or projector and discuss if students agree with a product's placement on the list. Generate a list of characteristics that would keep an invention OFF this list! Have students create commercials advertising their new product (or the one they researched). Enhance learning by challenging students to create a video commercial. Modify classroom technology use by usingFlexClip, reviewed here. FlexClip is designed to allow you to create short animated or explainer videos to share on YouTube and other social media sites. Share using a site such as SchoolTube, reviewed here.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomShare selected discoveries or a science-in-real-life scenario at least weekly on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Watch the site for real world examples of your current unit or award extra credit to students who lurk on this site to find such connections. Just as your social studies colleagues assign students to write up a current event each week, you can assign students to write a blog post or brief explanation of a recent find on your class wiki. Be sure to include this link on your class web page for students to access both in and out of class, and be sure to include it in your emergency sub plans for students to find and explain an accomplishment of a real scientist found here. If you do a unit on science careers, this is a definite source for student projects. Why not have students create an interactive infographic using a tool like Genially, reviewed here, on a branch of science that interests them after exploring this site?
Grades4 to 9
In the ClassroomThe possibilities at this site are "inventive." Visit the games site to learn about sound and play an interactive "string thing." Have students work in cooperative learning groups to recreate the building activities. Share the video clips (or interactives) on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Have your class complete one of the "real life" challenges together. If you can't do it during the competition months, go back and try one of the past competitions. Document it on a class wiki, then invite next year's class to do it even better by learning from "experience." Before you know it, kids will walk in the first day of school and ask when they get to try the challenge.
Grades3 to 12
tag(s): civil rights (187), congress (38), courts (19), first ladies (4), immigration (63), inventors and inventions (69), Juneteenth (18), lewis and clark (14), presidents (117), primary sources (105), slavery (70), womens suffrage (37), world war 1 (64), world war 2 (141)
In the ClassroomUse this site as an anticipatory set for a unit in history or on inventions. Share a collection of images or invention drawings on a projector or whiteboard and ask what the invention will do. Or use the site as the starting point for individual or group projects. After demonstrating on an interactive whiteboard or projector, have students use laptops or lab computers to "collect" resources related to their assigned inventor, decade, or era in American history. Check your school policy regarding accessing student email. If students cannot have their own email accounts, consider using a "class set" of GMail subaccounts (managed by you), explained here. This tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. This would provide anonymous interaction within your class. Students can use their log-ins to collect resources.
Since the documents are in the public domain (are not copyrighted), students may also download and use the files as part of other projects, such as video compilations, Powerpoint presentations, or multimedia of any sort. To access the resources in non-Flash format, click the small link to "research this record in ARC" in the detailed view of the item. You can then view and Save As for use elsewhere. Be sure you teach students about copying the URL and relevant information from this ARC page to cite the source and give credit in any presentation they make. This site is excellent for enrichment or projects for the gifted, as well. Include it on your teacher web page for students to access both in and out of class for students who are working in History Day projects or other assignments for your class.