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Teaching Through Invention

Lesson Planning Channel

Invite your students to invent a better mousetrap -- or a better mouse! This week, Education World lessons focus on inventors and inventions, challenging your students to see the world in a whole new way. Included: Five "inventive" problem-solving lessons.


"Throughout history, inventions have helped people discover new worlds, build communities, develop resources, increase productivity, cure diseases, ease burdens, and enjoy life to the fullest. ... New inventions lead to new technologies, create new jobs, and improve our quality of life."
--The U.S. Patent Office

Inventing -- building something new or making something better -- is often thought of as a purely creative act. In fact, invention demands much more than a vision. It requires previous knowledge and new information; the ability to observe, analyze, and identify problems; and the utilization of critical-thinking skills to find appropriate and workable solutions. This week, the Education World lesson planning article focuses on inventors, inventions, and the process of inventing, requiring your students to utilize all those skills in productive and enjoyable ways.

A brief description of each activity appears below. Click any headline for a complete teaching resource!



  • Big Ideas Quiz Whiz
    The National Geographic Kids provides a quiz that test kids' knowledge about inventors and inventions.
  • Selected Resources for Patents, Inventions, and Technology Transfer
    Stanford University provides this list of links to resources about patents and the patent process.
  • Inventors
    This site offers many resources on inventions and inventors, including inventors categorized according to such ethnic or minority groups as women, Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanics, Chinese, and so on.
  • Inventors and Inventions Theme Page
    The Community Learning Network provides an excellent list of links to sites containing lessons and activities about inventors and inventing appropriate for K-12 students.
  • Wacky Patents
    This archive of wacky patents includes the inventor's name, the patent number, and patent design illustrations.
  • Inventors and Inventions
    Education World provides two original Internet scavenger hunts on inventions -- one for elementary students and one for older students.