What's an easy way to get kids interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)?
Through inventors and their inventions!
Inventors & Inventions Activities
Try the following ideas with our curated inventors and inventions activities and lessons to boost STEM learning at your house.
- Go without lights and electric appliances for a day (or an hour!) to help your kids consider the world before Thomas Edison.
- Read books about Thomas Edison aloud and talk about the many inventions he created. What was his process like?
- Each kid can pick a favorite inventor or invention. Help them find websites, documentaries, YouTube videos, and library books to learn more. They could do a project such as a lapbook, slide show, report, or drawings to show what they learned.
- Talking about inventions is a great way to get into deep discussions that inspire curiosity.
- Which invention has helped humanity the most?
- Have any inventions harmed humanity? Which ones?
- Encourage your kids to become inventors. Can they create a better, faster or more fun way to do a daily chore? Can they think of a new gadget or imagine a new app?
- Spur their interest in gadgets by encouraging them to build a potato clock or launch model rockets.
Learning about inventors and inventions can turn a rabbit trail of interest into a STEM unit study that's easy to pull together. Plus, learning about inventions has a magic way of combining social studies and science, cutting back on your prep work.
Invent some STEM education at your house today!
Inventor Resource Links
National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum
From Invent.org, offering a comprehensive list of all Hall of Fame inductees. Each inventor has a profile, including his or her invention, its impact, and the inventor's bio.
United States Patent and Trademark Office
Curious about the latest inventor news? Want to search trademarks and patents? The US Patent and Trademark Office is where to go. Visit the Kids & Educators page for lots of fun activities, videos, downloads, coloring pages and worksheets, virtual events, and more.
Inventions and Science
“Inventions from the telephone to the Model T and the computer have defined human history, and inventors like Leonardo da Vinci, Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, Eli Whitney and Alexander Graham Bell have transformed our society.” A large collection of articles on all things inventions and inventors from History.
Famous Inventor Biographies
“Discover the men and women behind some of the most famous inventions and innovations of history. Research almost any famous historical or current inventor with these biographies, A-to-Z lists, photo galleries, and timelines.” From ThoughtCo.
Inventors and Inventions, A-Z Index
A large, A-Z list of inventors and inventions that includes a brief overview of each. From Enchanted Learning.
The Smith College Museum of Ancient Inventions has a large online exhibition featuring images and overviews of inventions dating back to pre-7000 BCE.
Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation
The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation features not just the work of Henry Ford, but also the work of hundreds of American inventors and innovators. Search the online collection for numerous inventive artifacts or visit the Education Center for an extensive collection of PreK-12 lessons and resources.
Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe
Nikola Tesla was a mathematician and a physicist who invented Alternating Current Power, Hydroelectric Power, the Tesla Coil, and more. Learn about Nikola Tesla’s life and inventions on the Tesla Science Center website, and visit the Virtual Science Center page for activities, resources, and virtual events.
The Invention Factory: Thomas Edison's Laboratories
A curriculum kit created by the National Park Service. Lesson is good for teaching units on the industrialization of the United States, the development of science and technology, and social change in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Design and Technology KS2: You Too Can Be an Absolute Genius
A series of lessons from BBC Teach that explores what makes someone an inventor, how to develop ideas for and test inventions, and what ideas young inventors are working on today. Designed for students 7-11 years old.
Inventions that Shape History
TEDEd has a large collection of video lessons that look at both modern and historical inventions and explore the connections between different types of inventions.
Famous Black Inventors
ThoughtCo. has a large database list of African American patent holders and individual biographies of African American inventors.
Black Inventors and Inventions
A large database of Black Inventor profiles listed by time period on Black Past.
Black Scientists and Inventors
An encyclopedic article and index of Black Scientists and Inventors from Infoplease.com.
10 Black Women Inventors
In 1885, Sarah Goode became the first Black woman to file a patent for her spacing-saving, fold-able furniture design. You can learn about her, the inventor of the heating furnace, the inventor of modern home security, and more in the Yes! Magazine article.
George Washington Carver Biography
"George Washington Carver (January 1, 1864-January 5, 1943) was an agricultural chemist who discovered 300 uses for peanuts as well as hundreds of uses for soybeans, pecans, and sweet potatoes." You can learn more about his life in this biography from ThoughtCo.
The Life of Henry Ford
Learn about the life of Henry Ford and how he came to revolutionize the automobile industry from the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation.
Biography of Samuel Morse 1791-1872
Learn about the life of Samuel Morse, inventor of the electric telegraph and Morse code, on ThoughtCo.
Thomas Alva Edison Resource Links
Lots of links in one place to help your family learn about the man credited with inventing the light bulb, sound recordings, and the first movies—Thomas Edison. What would life be like without these inventions?
The Wright Brothers National Memorial
Wilbur and Orville Wright, together known as the Wright brothers, invented and flew the first motor-operated airplane. If you can’t visit the National Memorial in person, you can take a virtual field trip and find lessons and activities on the National Parks Service Website.
Ada Lovelace Biography
Ada Lovelace is sometimes called the world’s first computer programmer based on her work with inventor Charles Babbage on his Analytical Engine, a precursor to the calculator from the 1800s. From National Geographic.
Alan Turing Biography
Alan Turing was a mathematician, computer scientist, and openly gay man who is credited with developing early computing and artificial intelligence. His test, designed to evaluate machine intelligence, would go on to be called the Turing Test. From Live Science.
Alexander Graham Bell
Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers
This collection of primary resources from the Library of Congress contains more than 145,000 items, including letters, notebooks, journals, blueprints, and much more. Also included are a timeline, family tree, and articles on Bell’s life and work.
Alexander Graham Bell Resource Links
A collection of resources for learning about Alexander Graham Bell from SurfNetKids.
AlexanderGrahamBell.org is a biographical page from Virtualology that includes detailed information and photos of primary sources. Included are a family tree, sketches, photos, timelines, and more.
Alexander Graham Bell Biography and Activities
Learn about Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, on this activity page from Garden on Praise. Included are a biography, quizzes, puzzles, crosswords, worksheets, and more.
Alexander Graham Bell - Biography
Information about Alexander Graham Bell’s life and work from Thoughtco.com.
Can you hear me? Lesson Plan
Learn about Alexander Graham Bell through these crafts and activities from Crayola.
Einstein Papers Project
Access a comprehensive collection of Einstein's writings, letters, and research from the Caltech Einstein Papers Project. Included are links to other helpful online resources, including a digital exhibit on Einstein’s life, a TIME magazine article, and more.
Albert Einstein Archives
Albert Einstein Archives offers the world’s largest online collection of Einstein's personal letters, manuscripts, and notes. From Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
This Einstein Exhibit from the American Museum of Natural History showcases Einstein’s life, theories, and legacy. Included are educator resources on building a cloud chamber, black holes, fusion simulation, the sun, and more.
The Einstein Museum Educational Materials
This is a 56-page educational guide designed to accompany exhibits at the Einstein Museum, which is part of the Bernisches Historisches Museum in Switzerland. It includes a comprehensive biography, a timeline, photos of primary sources and artifacts, quizzes, and more.
Albert Einstein Biography
Learn about Albert Einstein's life, achievements, and his 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics from the Nobel Prize organisation.
Albert Einstein Biography and Activities for Kids
Learn about Einstein's life, achievements, and contributions through activities, including word searches, puzzles, coloring pages, worksheets, and more. From Garden of Praise.
Albert Einstein Printables
Einstein Printables A collection printable activities covering Einstein's life and work from ThoughtCo.
From PBS’s NOVA, Einstein Revealed is a site designed to accompany the series of the same name. Contains information relevant to the speed of light, Einstein's theory of relativity, the story behind E=mc² and more.
Interactive: Think Like Einstein
This interactive lesson from PBS’s NOVA provides an easy-to-understand introduction to Einstein's theories of light and relativity. For grades 9-12.
The Einstein-Szilard Letter 1939
Albert Einstein wrote a letter to President Roosevelt on August 2, 1939, encouraging the US to research nuclear weapons. The letter culminated in the bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Invention Resource Links
From MIT, this site features an Inventor of the Week with archives, the Inventor's Handbook, Invention Related Links and Resources, and more.
The Lemelson Center
The Smithsonian Institute’s Lemelson Center is dedicated to the study of invention and innovation. It’s an excellent resource for learning about both modern and historical inventors. You can browse inventor stories by who – such as Black Inventors, Women Inventors, Immigrant Inventors, Asian Pacific American Inventors – or what: Art Inventions, Air & Space Inventions, Environment Inventions, Food & Drink Inventions, and more. Visit the “Try” page for young inventor activities you can do at home.
Communication Activities - The Telegraph
From Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) funded by the Library of Congress.
Invent It, Build It
PBS Kids brings us six activities to spark kids' inventive spirit. Each activity is designed to show how inventions can improve lives. Grades 4-6. Online games, fun stories, and ideas for designing and building inventions. Archived at the Internet Archive.
Design Squad Global Build Activities PBSKids.org offers design challenges in multiple categories: art, building, machines, toys, musical, party, and vehicles. Each challenge is rated as easy, medium, or hard. The challenges include printable instructions with a list of items needed, things to think about, and more.
United States Patent and Trademark Office
TESS, the search engine at the US Patent and Trademark Office, allows you to search patents and see the drawings and information submitted with the patent application. The search tool can be a fun way to learn about inventions.
Greatest Engineering Achievements of the 20th Century
Welcome! How many of the 20th century's greatest engineering achievements will you use today? A car? Computer? Telephone? Explore our list of the top 20 achievements and learn how engineering shaped a century and changed the world.
Internet Scavenger Hunt: Inventors & Inventions
From Education World accessed through Wayback Archives
Seeing inventions go into mass production helps kids understand how inventions can be "scaled up" so they are available to many people. This U.S. map shows factory tours available in each state. Plan your next field trip!