Thematic Thursday - Inventors, Inventions and Simple Machines

It's Thematic Thursday and I'm teaming up with Carla with Comprehension Connections to share our resources about famous inventors, inventions and simple machines. Teaching students about inventors, inventions and the invention process has always been one of my favorite units.


I love reading the amazing stories behind famous inventions. For example, Silly Putty was actually invented as synthetic rubber during World War II. There was a shortage of rubber because the military needed the rubber for tires, aircraft, boots, etc. and Japan had bombed the factories. The book Toys! Amazing Stories Behind Great Inventions by Don Wulffson shares more stories like Silly Putty.

For an excellent timeline about inventions, I recommend the book An Illustrated Timeline of Inventions and Inventors by Kremena T Spengler. The timeline goes back to the Egyptians.

Activities and Ideas

I want to share a couple of my favorite products about Inventions and Inventors. I have a complete unit called Inventor's Notebook. This unit takes the students through the invention process with problem-solving activities such as Scamper, Rube Goldberg activities, create a game and more. I've also provided pictures from our Invention Convention and website resources.

Students can learn about famous inventors and their inventions with this unit. While learning about these famous people, they can watch a PowerPoint about the qualities of an inventor. I've also provided two reading passages to along with the unit.


Watch this fun video that's a great example of a Rube Goldberg Invention. This product was a first place winner!

For more ideas, hop over to Comprehension Connection.


  1. Great post! Thanks so much for linking up this week, Sandy!

  2. Great set of resources!!! And don't listen to Elementary AMC, I love your new blog design.. way better than Bill... he is awesome and all but I can't get that song out of my head!!

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