Free Famous Inventors/Invention Unit study

As a busy mom of eleven, I have become the queen of finding the simplest ways to do seemingly difficult tasks. Homeschooling is one of them. Although the prospect of teaching multiple children may seem daunting to some, I have found a wonderful reprieve in using unit studies. Right now, I am using unit studies with all of my elementary age children, and it makes things so much easier.

Recently, after using the same Creation Science unit study for twelve weeks, my children and I grew bored with it, but, unfortunately, I didn’t have any other unit study curricula we hadn’t already used. After searching online for free unit studies, I became a little discouraged because the vast majority of them rely heavily on printable worksheets, and, while that may work for some, I knew my kids would quickly tire of those studies, as well.

Out of sheer desperation, I decided to write my own unit study, and, surprisingly, I really enjoyed it. I eventually ended up writing several, all of which I did end up using, and we thoroughly enjoyed them.

Today I’d like to share with you the very first unit study I wrote, “Famous Inventors/Inventing.” This study is meant to last approximately 2-3 weeks, but you can always have the option of shortening it or stretching it out as you see fit. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!



Famous Inventors/Inventing

(This post contains affiliate links.)

Recommended Resources:

Did You Invent the Phone Alone, Alexander Graham Bell?– Melvin and Gilda Berger
Who Was Thomas Alva Edison?– Margaret Frith
Inventions- FAQ– Valerie Wyatt
Ben Franklin and His First Kite– Stephen Krensky
The Many Lives of Benjamin Franklin– Aliki
So You Want to Be an Inventor?– Judith St. George
Imitating Nature- From Bat Sonar to Canes for the Blind– Toney Allman
Imitating Nature- From Bug Legs to Walking Robots– Toney Allman
Imitating Nature- From Barbs on a Weed to Velcro– Toney Allman
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory– Roald Dahl


invention         vibration             helicopter
invent                incandescent    airplane
phonograph     engineer             creativity
telephone         bioengineer       resilient
electricity         print                    determination
experiment      calendar             automobile
telegraph          lightning            genius
patent                machine             ingenuity
laboratory        submarine          lightbulb

Famous Inventors:

– Thomas Edison
– Alexander Graham Bell
– Benjamin Franklin
– Nikola Tesla
– Orville and Wilbur Wright
– Samuel Morse
– Henry Ford
– Leonardo Da Vinci
– George Washington Carver
– Johannes Gutenberg
– Eli Whitney


1. Read So You Want to Be an Inventor?, then brainstorm new invention ideas. (Language Arts, History, Science)

2. Create a word scramble out of selected vocabulary words. (Language Arts)

3. Read a biography of an inventor of your choice. (History, Science)

4. Research an inventor and write a short biography. (History, Science, Language Arts)

5. When inventors apply for a patent, they submit a drawing and short description of their idea to the patent office. Choose a favorite invention idea from Activity 1, draw it, and write a short description. (Language Arts, Art, Science, Social Studies)

6. Thomas Edison worked on a train in his youth. Learn about trains and how they work. (History, Science)

7. Thomas Edison once said, “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” Discuss the meaning of this quote. (Language Arts, Character)

8. Use Activity 7 to inspire a discussion on percentages. (Math)

9. Using common household items, build a 3-D model of invention idea from Activities 1 and 5. (Science, Art)

10. Research Samuel Morse and learn how to tap out your name in Morse Code. (History)

11. Thomas Edison’s mother provided him with a basement laboratory. It was filled with, among other things, empty jars and bottles, feathers, and rocks. Create a temporary lab in the kitchen or basement and experiment using materials similar to Edison’s in addition to: a magnifying glass or microscope, baking soda, vinegar, corn starch, and other household items. (Science)

12. Cut out individual letters from various magazines or advertisements and glue them to a piece of paper to spell out vocabulary words. (Language Arts)

13. Create “goo” by combining a box of corn starch, water, and food coloring (optional). Add water a little at a time and stir in a cake pan until it is the consistency of mayonnaise. This can be found on page 31 of Inventions- FAQ by Valerie Wyatt. (Science)

14. Write a story about an inventor using vocabulary words. (Language Arts)

15. Read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as a family read aloud. (Literature)

16. Copy a page of a book by hand, then discuss how Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press not only made the creation of books far easier, but also inspired people to learn to read since books became much more accessible. (Language Arts, History, Social Studies)

17. Create a “mini-bot” by using double-sided tape to attach a cell phone vibrator and a button cell battery to the bottom of a very small toy. One wire from the vibrator should be under the battery. Attach the other wire to a piece of double-sided tape and stick it to the top of the battery. The toy should “run” around the floor. (Science)

18. Read about the Wright Brothers’ various attempts to achieve flight. (Science, History)

19. The Wright Brothers achieved flight in Kitty Hawk, NC. Find this on a map. (History, Geography)

20. Using a map of the US, measure the distance from your house to Kitty Hawk, NC and calculate how long it would take to travel there at 60 MPH. (Math, Geography)

21. Visit a toy or candy factory and observe the machinery used to create their products. Prepare a list of questions to ask beforehand. (Field Trip, Science, Social Studies, Language Arts)

22. Research Eli Whitney’s cotton gin and write a paper discussing the pros and cons of this invention. (History, Language Arts, Social Studies)

23. Read about Leonardo Da Vinci’s “prophetic” inventions, which never came to fruition until centuries after his death. (History, Science)

24. Study some of Da Vinci’s most famous “inventions,” such as the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper. (Art)

25. Draw inspiration from Da Vinci’s work and paint an artistic masterpiece. (Art)

26. While Henry Ford did not invent the automobile, he did come up with the assembly line. Try making something that takes several steps (a sandwich, a simple foam craft, breaded chicken fingers, etc.) alone, then try again using an assembly line. Which was more efficient? (Critical Thinking, History)

27. George Washington Carver was known as the “Peanut Scientist.” Read about his life and enjoy a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. (History)

28. Make a lapbook to showcase finished work from this study. Use your artistic talents to decorate it scrapbook-style. (Art)





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