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November, 2007

The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention & Innovation
A Smithsonian site celebrating human ingenuity.
Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention & Innovation is at the Smithsonian Institutions National Museum of American History. Its mission is to To document, interpret, and disseminate information about invention and innovation, and it accomplishes its mission very well. It includes information virtual exhibits and explorations, video, audio, articles, archives, and resources for educators.
The site can be navigated in a number of ways. There is a left side menu with the main areas of the site, a drop down menu at the top of the page for special audiences and a keyword search box also at the top of the page as well as a featured invention. Internal pages have an annotated contents page. QuickTime Player is needed.

The Lemelson Center site is a great way for students to start learning about the history of invention and innovation. Visitors may want to start by clicking on the featured invention and reading the article, then move on to more stories about inventions. If you are looking for a particular resource, then the drop down menu at the top of the page leads to special sections for students, teachers, inventors, historians or museum visitors. These annotated lists feature articles and exhibits of specific interests. The Centerpieces area features virtual interactive exhibits on such topics as the quartz watch, the invention of the electric guitar, wearable and implantable inventions for the human body and others. The video and audio area offers podcasts about the artificial heart, solar powered transportation, video games and more. Included is a podcast activity guide for teachers to download. The resource section is not to be missed especially by teachers. It includes free multimedia and print materials for classroom use as well as research opportunities, invention stories index, online articles, archives, a database of invention archives in the U.S., oral and video histories, books, and Web sites.


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