Inventors and Inventions

Inventors and Inventions Photo Credit: Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress.
Look around you. What do you see? A computer? A phone? Books? Clothing?

Once upon a time, none of those things existed. Someone invented each one of them. Someone saw a problem, and, through brainstorming and (usually lots of) trial and error, came up with a solution to it. Or they took someone else's invention and saw a way to improve on it or use it for something other than for what it had been designed. Or they created a process for completing an action more simply.

Some inventors remain on the tips of people's tongues. Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Eli Whitney, and George Washington Carver are all well-remembered for their inventions. Others, such as Nikola Tesla, Richard Trevithick, Marion O'Brien Donovan, Buela Louise Henry, and Ramón López Irizarry, are less well known for their contributions to society.

Consider these resources merely a place to begin your journey into inventions and the women and men who came up with the ideas for them.
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  • Inventions 2: The Impact

    Inventions 2: The Impact

    K-2  |  Hands-On
    In this lesson students focus on the process of inventing, particularly on what short- and long-term issues inventors must consider before developing an invention.
  • Build a Better Pencil

    Build a Better Pencil

    K-2  |  Hands-On
    This investigation uses a pencil to introduce the idea of planning and evaluating designs.
  • Thomas Edison for Kids

    Thomas Edison for Kids

    6-8  |  Audio
    By studying Thomas Edison's life and inventions, students will develop a broader view of technology and how it is like and unlike science.
  • Leonardo's Machines

    Leonardo's Machines

    This lesson will highlight some of Leonardo's futuristic inventions, introducing the elements of machines.
  • Inventors and Innovators

    Inventors and Innovators

    In this lesson, students explore the scientific enterprise and the contributions of diverse people.
  • Temple Grandin

    Temple Grandin

    6-8  |  Video
    This is a lesson about being different and thinking differently. It focuses on the work of Temple Grandin, an animal behavior scientist who has autism, a brain condition of unknown cause that people are born with, and that makes them behave differently than other people.
  • Inventions of Necessity: Synthetic Rubber

    Inventions of Necessity: Synthetic Rubber

    In this lesson, students explore the relationship between societal needs and technological development by examining the history and making of synthetic rubber.
  • Faster Higher Smarter

    Faster Higher Smarter

    In this lesson, students explore the science of sports and to make the connection of scientific principles to real world activities like sports.


  • Invention at Play

    Invention at Play

    K-5  |  Interactive
    This site challenges you to explore, question, invent, and collaborate to make your own discoveries.
  • Lemelson-MIT Program

    Lemelson-MIT Program

    K-12  |  Website
    The Lemelson-MIT Program celebrates outstanding inventors and inspires young people to pursue creative lives and careers through invention.
  • Tesla: Inside the Lab

    Tesla: Inside the Lab

    6-12  |  Interactive
    This resource explores the brilliant inventions of Nikola Tesla which include the radio and the remote control.
  • Technology at Home

    Technology at Home

    3-12  |  Interactive
    This site lets you go back through the twentieth century to find out when everyday items such as computers, TVs, and CD players first appeared in homes.
  • eGFI


    6-12  |  Teaching Aid
    This dynamic site invites students to learn more about the various aspects of engineering.
  • Inventioneers App

    Inventioneers App

    K-5  |  Interactive
    This engaging science app from Filimundus challenges kids to solve problems using the objects provided.

Science Updates

  • Wheelchairs


    6-12  |  Audio
    In this Science Update, hear how exchanging technology with some of the world's poorest countries is helping to build better wheelchairs.
  • Rebuilt Language

    Rebuilt Language

    6-12  |  Audio
    In this Science Update, learn about how a recent movie spent money reconstructing a dead language.
  • Fab@home


    6-12  |  Audio
    This Science Update explains how fabricators, devices like inkjet printers, can generate 3-D objects.
  • 3D Tissue

    3D Tissue

    6-12  |  Audio
    3D scaffolding in cells helps scientists understand a patient’s cancer cells and personalize treatments.
  • Cooling from Nature

    Cooling from Nature

    6-12  |  Audio
    Engineers are designing more efficient cooling systems inspired by physical processes in nature.
  • Robotic Materials

    Robotic Materials

    6-12  |  Audio
    Many futuristic inventions are inspired by biological systems.



  • National Engineers Week

    National Engineers Week

    This collection of resources will encourage the budding engineers and interest those who aren't sure why engineering is relevant to their lives.

AAAS Resources

3-D Bioprinting (6-12)
Adam Feinberg at Carnegie Mellon University has come up with a technique that expands the use of 3-D printing technology and could one day allow researchers to print heart tissue.