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Cardboard Pedal Pusher

cardboard bikeIzhar Gafni’s eureka moment came a few years ago when he heard about a cardboard canoe and wondered: “Why not a cardboard bicycle?” It took several years of trial-and-error work before he succeeded in building a reliable model that weighs a mere 20 pounds, is stronger than carbon fiber, and costs only about $10 to make.

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For Toy Engineers, Work is Child’s Play

rubber duckyEver walk through a store’s toy department and wonder: Who dreams up these action figures, games, and other fun stuff? Toy engineers do! They get to play for a living, designing and making new toys to engage or educate kids of all ages.

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The Science of Innovation

science of innovation3-D printers and electronic tattoos are just some of the inventions featured in a new video series launched to mark Thomas Edison’s 165th birthday. Produced in collaboration by NBCLearn, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the “Science of Innovation” includes 11 segments – with related lessons – illuminating the process by which scientists and engineers develop innovative ideas into patents and products.

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Student Invents Solar Tree

Aiden DwyerOn a hike through the Catskill Mountains in New York, Aidan Dwyer, a seventh-grader, noticed that the branches of oak trees seemed to follow a pattern. Inspired, he created a tree-like arrangement of small solar panels capable of generating 20-50% more energy than a traditional flat designs.

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Feature: Hop into a Hovercraft

HovercraftAn Austrian engineering firm debuted a new type of hovercraft at the Paris Air Show, claiming it can take off and land vertically without using any rotor blades or fixed wings. Popular Science’s report says the Austrian Innovative Aeronautical Technology’s (IAT21) D-Dalus uses four contra-rotating turbines for propulsion, allowing “thrust to be fired in any direction, around any axis.”

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Website: Museum of Ancient Inventions

ancientwheelsHelp students connect to the past by having them view the Virtual Museum of Ancient Inventions, which displays helpful information on remarkable innovations from the distant past, such as the Aztec calendar wheels, the loom, the steam engine, the catapulut — and even eyeliner!

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Web Resource: STEM All-Star Trading Cards

STEM Card 05-FrontEach week for 25 weeks, Dupont will unveil a new STEM collectible trading card featuring one scientist out of the countless men and women who have made an impact through STEM research and education. Featured thus far? Albert Einstein, George Washington Carver, Sergey Brin.

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Television Series: Dean of Invention

Dean of Invention_Title_v03Dean of Invention is a new television series, airing Fridays, 10 PM E/P on Planet Green, hat features futuristic visions of what science and technology can do to save our planet and improve our lives today. The first episode begins Friday, October 22, 2010. Visit the Website for more news, video, and discussions on inventions.

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Website: Inventor Profiles

cochraneinventionThe Inventor of the Week Web page is part of the Lemelson-MIT program to honor “the acclaimed and unsung heroes who have helped improve our lives through invention.” A rich archive of brief online articles highlights the accomplishment of researchers and engineers, providing a sense of their work, struggles, and path to invention and success. Who invented Gatorade and the Hovercraft, and which woman paved the way for the first dishwasher? Your students can find out here.

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