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.

Explore all of TeachersFirst's resources tagged inventors and inventions for more ideas. 

 

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DocsTeach - Digital Vaults - National Archives

Grades
3 to 12
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This site offers digitized National Archives of the U.S. organized according to general category. You can finally explore and share primary source documents interactively through this...more
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This site offers digitized National Archives of the U.S. organized according to general category. You can finally explore and share primary source documents interactively through this site. Start from 13 featured topics. For a more in depth look at each subject and its associated categories, click on What's Interesting. A search feature is also available. An added feature at the bottom of the opening page is the "Pathways" tab. Students can participate in a "challenge" (in different levels) to find links between certain historical items. Students can also create their own pathways, writing about connections they find between certain archived items. In another section, students can create their own historical posters and movies from the archives. You can create a collection of items from the archives to retrieve or look at later, as well. This feature requires a free membership created by email address. There are also extensive lesson ideas and information for teachers at the small link, "Educators and Students," at the bottom of the page. Roll your mouse down to find it against the dark background. Note: the entire site is done in Flash (an HTML version is available from a small link at the bottom of the page).

tag(s): civil rights (124), congress (40), courts (16), first ladies (3), immigration (62), inventors and inventions (83), lewis and clark (17), presidents (131), primary sources (99), slavery (67), womens suffrage (26), world war 1 (56), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Use 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.

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Goldburger To Go - ABCya

Grades
2 to 8
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For all of you who can't get enough of Rube Goldberg - this site is for you! the highlight of this page from ABCya is the interactive challenge "Goldburger ...more
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For all of you who can't get enough of Rube Goldberg - this site is for you! the highlight of this page from ABCya is the interactive challenge "Goldburger To Go." The activity challenges students to design a machine that serves lunch. This activity provides a wealth of scientific information simply by clicking on the "Get a Clue" buttons throughout the activity.

tag(s): inventors and inventions (83), machines (25), simple machines (33)

In the Classroom

Students will truly enjoy this website, get an interactive whiteboard and involve the entire class. This activity provides wonderful enrichment and/or extensions for any unit on inventions, simple machines, or laws of motion.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Lighting a Revolution - Smithsonian

Grades
5 to 8
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This online exhibition from the National Museum of American History examines the process of invention, breaking it down into five distinct stages. Enter one of the virtual laboratory...more
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This online exhibition from the National Museum of American History examines the process of invention, breaking it down into five distinct stages. Enter one of the virtual laboratory doors to discover the similarities and differences between Edison's 19th century work on the electric lamp and the development of 20th century lighting devices. The site includes links to materials that explain the science and engineering behind electric lighting and the factors used to determine energy efficiency.

tag(s): electricity (96), inventors and inventions (83)

In the Classroom

Use this resource to frame a student invention unit based on the five stages detailed on the site. Focus the invention process on current or future needs brainstormed by students in class.

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