Younger StudentsInvention at Play from the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation provide four interactives that give students an insight into the creative processes used by innovators in science and technology. Cloud Dreamer, Puzzle Blocks, Tinker Ball and Word Play let users experience different types of inventive play.
Chinese Inventions @ the Franklin Museum provides brief descriptions of several important inventions such as paper and gunpowder.
This clickable Invention Timeline from NASA shows inventions from 1790 through 2000.
Search for Spinoffs lets students search for everyday items that were invented as spinoffs from NASA research.
Innovation HQ's Travel Through Time section has an illustrated timeline of innovations and inventions from 1900 to the present. The site is sponsored by 3M and Discovery.
In Exploring Leonardo, the Boston Museum of Science shows how DaVinci created futuristic inventions before modern science and invention had really begun. An Inventor's Workshop section highlights some Leonardo creations, introduces the elements of machines, and gives students in grades 4-8 a chance to try analyzing DaVinci's inventions and designing their own.
Benjamin Franklin and his inventions focuses on Franklin's inventing talents.
The Wizard of Menlo Park from the Franklin Science Museum supplies a short biography of Thomas Alva Edison.
Thomas Edison's Inventions in the 1900's and Today: From "New" to You! is a lesson plan from the National Endowment for the Humanities that familiarizes students with life and technology around 1900 in order to better understand how Edison influenced both.
Flights of Inspiration from the Franklin Science Museum Online focuses on the history and science of flight. It explores the forces involved in flight-lift, weight, thrust, and drag-and challenges students aged 10-14 to design their own model aircraft.
Technology in 1900 provides a fun view of early inventions such as cars, telephones, and the precursor to MTV. Part of PBS's WayBack: U.S. History for Kids, this site also answers questions such as "What kind of technology did most kids use in 1900?"
The Franklin Institute Science Museum's Pieces of Science gives students an opportunity to explore the history and significance of several items. Student activities and information for teachers is included. Pieces appropriate for younger students are at the left of the timeline.
Eureka offers information on some well-known inventors, as well as interesting inventions such as cellophane tape, bubble gum, and the Popsicle™. Created by Wisconsin 5th graders, the site also includes activities that encourage students to become inventors. (Scroll down and click to enter the site.)
The student-created Reinventing the Past: Famous Inventions highlights items we now take for granted. The site describes them, their inventors, and how the items have changed over the years. (Scroll down and click to enter the site.)
Pictures in a Box from the Exploratorium tells the story of the 14 year old who helped invent television. The site also explains how television works.
Super Scientists - a Gallery of Energy Pioneers features pictures and information about inventors in the field of energy.
Information on some young inventors and tips on creative thinking and inventing can be found in Club GirlTech's section on invention.
The lesson plan US History: Inventors and Entrepeneurs aks students to research some interesting examples (such as the chocolate chip cookie, McDonald's, Morse code) to explore the difference between inventors and entrepeneurs.
Chinese Inventions is a lesson plan from the Asia Society's K-12 Web site. The lesson includes descriptions of many Chinese inventions.
Older StudentsThe History of Invention from Nationmaster lists important inventions chronologically from the 8th millenium BC to the present. It also features information about many of the inventors.
What in the World is That: Ingenious Inventions Through History from the Library of Congress introduces students to many inventions through historical photographs and a game, and also provides a description of each invention's development.
Smith College provides photographs and brief descriptions of many ancient objects in The Museum of Ancient Inventions.
New York University's Medieval Technology Pages present inventions in western Europe during the Middle Ages and describes how they affected society and people's lives.
The Science Timeline from HyperHistory provides biographies of many important inventors. (Note that new browser window opens each time you choose a person or category.) Chinese Inventions provides a timeline of inventions and the time lag between invention and adoption by the West.
Illustrated biographies of inventors are featured in the Inventor of the Week Archives from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Invention Dimension. The site also includes a Handbook for Inventors and additional links.
The National Inventors Hall of Fame provides information about hundreds of inventors. Students may browse by inventor, invention or decade. Other resources include Camp Invention for grades 2-6 and a collegiate inventors competition.
American Inventors and Inventions from the Smithsonian Institution offers photographs and brief descriptions.
People and Discoveries from the PBS series A Science Odyssey supplies stories about more than 100 20th century scientists and their inventions.
Everyday Edisons is a PBS series highlighting the development process of 12 inventions and the parallel stories of the people who invented them. The Web site includes information about each inventor and his or her invention.
The Index of African-American Inventors includes information about African-American inventors and their inventions.
Honoring Black Inventors of the Past explores the lives of several African-American inventors.
Inventor's Museum highlights different categories such as African-American inventors, colonial inventors, communications inventions, technology inventions, and more.
What did Gutenberg Invent? from the BBC's Renaissance Secrets site discusses recent discoveries which give new insight into the history of the printing press. The site examines the process of studying history, and each section includes information, evidence and a question to ponder.
The Eli Whitney Museum provides a biography of the man credited with inventing the cotton gin.
James Fulton designed the first practical submarine. Find drawings of it in Fulton's Submarine from the Library of Congress.
The Samuel F. B. Morse Papers document Morse's invention of the electromagnetic telegraph, his participation in the development of telegraph systems in the United States and abroad, his career as a painter and more. The Library of Congress site also features a Morse timeline and a history of the invention of the telegraph.
The Library of Congress offers The Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers, with information about Bell and his inventions and thousands of primary source documents such as pages from his experimental notebooks, journals, blueprints, articles, and photographs.
The Telephone Web site from PBS provides information about Alexander Graham Bell, Elisha Gray, Thomas Alva Edison, Thomas A. Watson, and the invention of the telephone. The site also features a section on forgotten inventors of items such as the frisbee and the can opener, and an interactive timeline of technology inventions from 1752 - 1950.
Thomas Edison and the Menlo Park Laboratory from the Henry Ford Museum features a biography and chronology of Edison's life, a list of his inventions and patents, and information about others who worked in his laboratory.
The Smithsonian Institution presents Edison After Forty, photographs and information about Thomas Edison. The photos may be downloaded for educational, noncommercial purposes.
Inventing Entertainment: The Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings of the Edison Companies from the Library of Congress features historical information and 341 motion pictures, 81 disc sound recordings, and other related materials.
The Showroom of Automotive History features photographs and information about Henry Ford's first car, the quadricycle. The Henry Ford Museum also features a biography of Ford.
The Wright Brothers from the Henry Ford Museum traces the life of the famous brothers from childhood to their first flight and through their deaths.
The United Kingdom's Open University presents First Flight, with a history of flight inventions that includes information about Sir George Cayley, Otto Lilienthal, Horatio Phillips, and the Wright brothers.
R. Buckminster Fuller from PBS' American Masters series presents information about Fuller's life and inventions. Another biography of Fuller is available from the Buckminster Fuller Institute.
Learn about R. Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion House at this site from the Henry Ford Museum. The house was Fuller's attempt to invent a mass-produced, affordable, easily transportable and environmentally efficient house in the 1920s.
The Revolutionaries highlights 18 of Silicon Valley's top technology and science pioneers. High school students helped interview these people, and each interview includes photographs and audio recordings.
Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation presents virtual exhibits of the electric guitar, the quartz watch, and Edison Invents!, Edison's life and inventions, as well as Innovative Lives, a section on contemporary inventors and stories they told to middle school students at the center.
Greatest Inventions includes stories of inventors and inventi The National Museum of American History offers Information Age: People, Information & Technology. This online exhibit features photographs of information technology, from Samuel Morse's original telegraph transmitter and receiver to a CD-ROM disc.
Greatest Engineering Achievements of the 20th Century briefly describes the impact of 20 important technological achievements. The National Academy of Engineering also supplies a detailed history and timeline for each.
History of Science, Technology and Invention from the Smithsonian Institution comprises two exhibits. One highlights lives and accomplishments of inventors, aviators, and others from Latin America and the southwestern United States who have affected science and technology. The second takes a look at The Changing American Office.
Last updated 6/15/2011
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