The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention & Innovation
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Educational Materials

Lemelson Center educators have developed resources for teachers, parents, and students who want to explore the exciting world of invention. These materials are provided free of charge to educators in the classroom and the home.
Above: A student explores the science of colors. Smithsonian photo by Rick Vargas.
MultimediaPublicationsExperimentsOnline Educational Features
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Multimedia
Reinventing the Wheel: The Continuing Evolution of the Bicycle (DVD)

"Reinventing the Wheel" explores the bicycle's unique history and technology. The velocipede achieved great popularity almost immediately when it was introduced more than a century ago. Countless inventors were inspired to make bicycles more efficient and comfortable, and bicycle innovation continues today. Cycling also sparked unexpected social changes, as various groups adopted bicycles for their own needs. See historic bicycles from the collections of the National Museum of American History and some amazing prototypes for the future. Program highlights include "high wheelers," hand-powered cycles for the disabled, mountain bikes, and even a bicycle that rides on snow.

Format: DVD, 45 minutes, closed captioned, 2002

How to order: Available free of charge (however, a shipping fee of $2 in the U.S., $5 elsewhere, applies) from the International Technology Education Association. See page 19 of the ITEA Product Guide for details.

Additional materials:

Teacher's resource guide - Full color version (PDF document. File size: 9 MB. Download time: 30 min. @ 56K)

Teacher's resource guide - Black & white version (PDF document. File size: 1 MB. Download time: 3 min. @ 56K)

The Innovative Path (PDF document. File size: 6.3 MB. Download time: 8 min. @ 56k).

The development of good roads were an important part of the rise in popularity of cycling. This guide offers tours of innovative bike trails in the Washington, D.C., area, each with its own story of design challenges. Discover these stories as you ride along and consider future innovations that might take place. Take the innovative path. 

She's Got It! Women Inventors and Their Inspirations (DVD)

Curious about women inventors? Designed for use in the classroom or at home, this video features women and girls who share a common creative spirit and have won invention prizes and awards. Many have appeared in the Lemelson Center's "Innovative Lives" series for middle school students.

Format: DVD, 29 minutes, closed captioned, 2000

How to order: Available free of charge (however, a shipping fee of $2 in the U.S., $5 elsewhere, applies) from the International Technology Education Association. See page 19 of the ITEA Product Guide for details.

Additional materials:

Teacher's resource guide (PDF document. File size: 2.7 MB. Download time: 10 min. @ 56K)

“Exploring the History of Women Inventors” in the Innovative Lives section of this Web site

Lewis Latimer: Renaissance Man, African American Inventor (DVD)

The Brewery Troupe and the Smithsonian's Lemelson Center present a puppet play that tells the story of African American inventor Lewis Latimer. Although he was a member of the Edison Pioneers, a group associated with the famous inventor Thomas Edison, Latimer is not a well known figure. The son of slaves, this self-educated man rose to become an inventor, poet, and activist. Through the unique artistry of puppet theater, Brad Brewer's "Crowtations" tell Latimer's exciting story to celebrate his 150th birthday.

Format: DVD, closed captioned, 30 minutes, 1999

How to order: Available free of charge (however, a shipping fee of $2 in the U.S., $5 elsewhere, applies) from the International Technology Education Association. See page 19 of the ITEA Product Guide for details.  

Additional materials:

Teacher's resource guide (PDF document. File size: 3 MB. Download time: approx. 11 min. @ 56K)

Learn more about Lewis Latimer in the Innovative Lives section of this Web site

Electric Guitar: Its Makers and Its Players (DVD)

The Lemelson Center presents this 1996 video field trip in cooperation with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Meet guitar maker Paul Reed Smith and guitar player G.E. Smith, who demonstrate their crafts and share stories about some of the people involved in developing and popularizing the electric guitar. Moderated by Bob Santelli, former director of education at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

Format: DVD, closed captioned, 30 minutes, 2004

How to order: Available free of charge (however, a shipping fee of $2 in the U.S., $5 elsewhere, applies) from the International Technology Education Association. See page 19 of the ITEA Product Guide for details.

Additional materials:

Teacher's resource guide (PDF document. File size: 820K. Download time: less than 1 min. @ 56K)

Visit The Electric Guitar virtual exhibit on this Web site

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