What’s Happening This Week
There is much more to explore in our calendar. Find other important events in literary history, authors' birthdays, and a variety of holidays, each with related lessons and resources.
Looking for age-appropriate book recommendations, author interviews, and fun activity ideas? Check out our podcasts.
The first typewriter patent was awarded in 1868.
|Grades||3 – 12|
|Calendar Activity Type||Historical Figure & Event|
If someone placed an original 1868 typewriter in front of you, you might not be able to figure out what it was. With keys that look more like they belong on a piano keyboard, the original typewriters looked very little like even the manual typewriters you're likely to happen upon today.
The invention of the typewriter led to the keyboards on the computers of today. Show your class a computer and a typewriter or two if you can find significantly different typewriters, such as a manual one and an electric one. Begin an inquiry-based study that compares typewriters to computers. Students can talk about everything from the appearance of the two tools to the way that one gets the final, finished product (a piece of paper with alphanumeric figures on it) to the different ways that they might use the two machines if they were composing a paper. As a conclusion to the project, ask students to hypothesize about how the shift from typewriters to computers changes the way that work is done.
Note: If you do not have access to typewriters and computers for the class to explore first-hand, pictures of the objects could be a reasonable substitute.
- Kids' Pages: The United States Patent and Trademark Office
This site includes games, puzzles, links, contest information, and a calendar of trivia related to patents and trademarks. Divided into materials for grades K–6 and 7–12, the site also features information for parents and coaches.
- Lemelson Center Presents Invention at Play
Many inventions come about as a result of people playing with the things in the environment around them. Explore the pages of this Smithsonian National Museum of American History site to see play turn into invention-and then perhaps you can invent something as you play in the classroom.
- Carbons to Computers
This Smithsonian Institution resource explores the similarities between the office of today and the past. Related lesson plans, a timeline, and information about office equipment-including the typewriter-are included.
- Typing Through Time: Keyboard History
This site focuses on the history and evolution of typewriters.
Grades 3 – 5 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
Who are the people behind the world’s greatest inventions? Students read biographies of a terrific trio of American inventors and create presentations that highlight how their inventions from the past impacted the future.
Grades 6 – 8 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
In an effort to help motivate students to read nonfiction, students are challenged to use a timeline to help them name the year when certain products were invented.
Grades 9 – 12 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
This lesson plan asks students to pay attention to the technologies they use. They graphically map their interactions with technology and compose narratives of their most significant interactions with technology.