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High School Inventors Shine at NASA Summit

A Space Granola Bar is Among The Winning InnovationsA recent event for high school inventors from across America at NASA’s Ames Research Center was not your average science fair. The 2010 Conrad Spirit of Innovation Award Summit handed out top prizes of $5,000 in grant money to winners of four categories — aerospace, renewable energy, green building and space nutrition — while finalists received $1,000. Students also got to talk to potential investors.

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Smithsonian’s Spark!Lab for Inventors. Washington, DC

Spark!Lab is a hands-on invention activity center at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC,. The fun activities incorporate history, science, engineering, technology, and art to help kids and families learn about the history and process of invention. Young visitors can play games, conduct science experiments, explore inventors’ notebooks, and even invent! Lab bench experiments are offered at 11:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m.

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Smithsonian Invention and Innovation Center, Washington, DC

The Website of the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC provides: interactive exhibits, events, podcases, educational materials, research opportunities, articles on invention and innovation, invention archives at the National Museum of American History Archives Center, books, and websites.

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Resource: Da Vinci Traveling Exhibit

Da Vinci: The Genius Traveling ExhibitGrande Exhibitions and the Anthropos Association have created a traveling exhibit called Da Vinci: The Genius. The exhibit incorporates images by French Scientific Engineer Pascal Cotte and his 25 revelations on the Mona Lisa, reproductions of Leonardo’s codices and most famous renaissance art, a collection of anatomical sketches, the Anghiari Battle Preparatory Drawings, and animations in 3D/HD of The Last Supper, the Vitruvian Man, and the creation of the Mona Lisa and the Sforza Horse Sculpture. It also features an informative audio guide, student workshop areas, a theatre, and a retail shop for Leonardo Da Vinci merchandise.

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Activity: Who Invented the Cotton Gin?

In this activity, students debate who invented the cotton gin. They come to realize the complexity of the seemingly simple historical statement: “Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin.” A follow-up discussion explores the nature of invention, the importance of history, and the nature of historical evidence.

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Website: Famous Black Inventors

The Famous Black Inventors Website offers excellent profiles of past and present African-American innovators, as well as a resource page with information on inventors and inventions — highlighting African Americans and women — invention history and trivia, and links to other Internet sites.

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Website: Invention Dimension

The Lemelson-MIT Program’s Invention Dimension is a fun-filled and at times wacky approach to making learning about invention exciting for the kid in all of us. Have some fun with invention games and explore the wealth of inventor and invention resources, including inventor profiles and patent guidelines.

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Event: Gizmo Expo, Bucknell U., Dec. 7

Bucknell University will host its 4th annual Engineering and Science Education Expo Mon., Dec. 7. More than 50 student teams will share inquiry-based teaching units and gizmos designed to teach science and engineering concepts to K-8 students. The Gizmo Expo allows participants to watch the gizmos in action, talk to student designers, and learn.

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