February is black history month and there are many amazing people for you and your kids to celebrate during this month and throughout the year. We completed a large study of the civil rights movement last spring and enjoyed learning about many of the famous and not-so-famous people that helped create a movement of change.
Let’s examine outside of the civil right movement and look at some of the major contributions to science, technology, and innovation that are often overlooked. Historically, people of color have had a more difficult time receiving recognition for their contributions to society. This includes contributions to science and innovation.
The importance of a patent.
For proper recognition (and financial gains) a patent is necessary. A patent basically copyrights the idea. There were many obstacles in place to prevent black inventors from obtaining patents.
True laws as well as racial issues that allowed blatant racism often made these innovators unable or unwilling to pursue a patent. Sometimes people weren’t educated about the patent process and were taken advantage of before patents could be secured (this was not something exclusive to any one group of people, but a continuation of the type of treatment that people that weren’t members of the affluent male majority experienced).
A sample of some things attributed to black inventors and scientists are:
- large refrigeration units
- traffic lights (with that nifty yellow warning light)
- automatic elevator doors
- light bulbs (refinement of the light bulb)
- shoes (an automated shoemaking machine)
- blood banks
Include a STEM exploration in your studies
Elegoo EL-KIT-012 UNO Project Smart Robot Car Kit V 3.0 with UNO R3, Line Tracking Module, Ultrasonic Sensor, Bluetooth ModuleSnap Circuits Lights Electronics Discovery KitSAM Labs Science Museum Inventor Kit – Learn & Invent with this STEM Starter Kit – Build and Program inventions
African American Inventors for Kids
This is a quick look at 6 inventors and scientists that made large contributions to society. This isn’t a comprehensive list, but it is a mix of some names you know and some you don’t know. You can create a booklet or use this black history printable as a worksheet. There are blank pages to add as many as innovators as you would like. It includes an answer key with additional links for more information and ideas.