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How a Small Tweak Made Lego the Toy You Know Today
Once a company of only 10 employees, Lego is now one of the most recognized brands on the planet—valued at over 14 billion dollars. Watch this Smithsonian Channel video to learn why none of this could have been possible without Lego’s revolutionary approach to play and commerce.
Totally Cool Toys
In this lesson from the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Center, students will imagine that they have just been hired as a designer at the Totally Cool Toy Company to design a very cool toy using a variety of materials in whatever way they think will create the most interesting toy.
The Father of the Video Game: The Ralph Baer Prototypes and Electronic Games
Read this article from the National Museum of American History to learn how an epiphany while waiting at a bus stop led to a mass market product that allowed people to interact with their television sets.
Make a Yo-Yo from Recycled Stuff
Thomas Edison said, “To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” With these words in mind, use this lesson plan from the Smithsonian’s History Explorer and the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation as you challenge students to create their own yo-yo using items found in your recycling bin.
Jerome Lemelson: Toying with Invention
One of the most interesting things about Jerome Lemelson’s toy patents is the way in which they parallel interests he was pursuing in other fields. Read this article from the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation to learn why.
Cell Game
In this three-period unit from the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, high school biology students will make learning about cells fun and exciting. They will use their knowledge of cells to design and build a game that tests the knowledge of other students.
Lincoln Logs Inventor John Lloyd Wright
Did you know that this popular toy was designed by none other than the son of architect Frank Lloyd Wright? Read this article from the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation to learn this toy’s amazing history.
Canned Goods and Cucumber Seeds: Food Banks are Starting to Give Out Garden Starters
Read this Smithsonian Magazine article to learn why canned goods are taking a backseat to freshly grown produce at some food banks.
How Does Your Garden Grow?
In this lesson from the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, students will create a new design for a school garden. Students will decide which plants will best grow in the local climate. They will identify how much sunlight the garden will receive and analyze how that affects their choice of plants. They will draw the proposed garden space.
How the U.S. Postal Service Could Tackle Food Insecurity
A team of Washington University students has a plan to tackle food insecurity. They want to use postal workers to pick up food, deliver it to food banks and even store it in post offices. Read this Smithsonian magazine article to learn more about their plan.