By Foster, Patrick
Technology and Children , Vol. 6, No. 4
Inventors and inventions websites are full of interesting facts with videos and some online activities. Check these out!
One of the best is EnchantedLearning.com's "Zoom" site on inventors and inventions (www.enchantedlearning.com/ inventors/). It features short articles on more than a hundred inventors and inventions. The best part is that many of the inventions are interactive, which enables students to actually see how they work. The site's articles and classroom activities are cross-linked with other topics and pages on EnchantedLearning.com. Inventors and inventions can be browsed alphabetically--by ten demographic groups (African-Americans, women, and eight geographic areas), through nine time periods (starting with "the 1300s and earlier"), or by category (clothing, communication, etc.).
The Inventors Museum, (www.inventorsmuseum.com), an online-only museum, has in-depth features on ten categories of inventors such as Space, Fun & Games, Women Inventors, etc. The Women Inventors site, for example, features 20 biographies, each five to ten paragraphs long with a photo or painting of the inventor. By contrast, the Transportation section includes only five articles, but features two people I didn't know were inventors: Steve McQueen and Abraham Lincoln. What did they invent? Find out at this site.
Inventing Modern America from the Microwave to the Mouse (http:// web.mit.edu/invent/www/ima) provides the best of American ingenuity and inventiveness. In-depth profiles of 35 inventors tell the surprising stories of the invention of everyday objects, from Kevlar[TM] and the personal computer to the pacemaker. The site is easy to navigate with just a click of the mouse button. There are also links to a number of other invention sites.
The Smithsonian Institution's Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation (www.si.edu/lemelson/). The depth of the site is amazing. There are entire sub-sites on such innovations as the electric guitar, textile processes, and more. The reading level is a little higher than some of the other sites discussed here, but for the motivated student, this is a must-visit site. See www.si.edu/resource/faq/nmah/ invent.htm for additional inventions-related material from the Smithsonian.
The Wacky Patent of the Month website at http://colitz.com/site/ wacky.htm is a lot of fun. You can find inventors and inventions that you had no idea were patented. …