"The Real McCoy:" African American Inventors in History

Class members research African American inventors, the challenges they faced in their attempts to patent their works, and the importance of their inventions to the development of technology. After a brief introduction to inventors Elijah McCoy, Thomas L. Jennings, and Granville T. Woods, individuals select a famous African American inventor from the given list. Using the provided worksheet, they research the contributions of and the challenges faced by their chosen individual. The instructional activity concludes with individuals creating their own inventions.

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CCSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas
  • Present the lesson during Black History Month or on February 11th, National Inventors' Day
Classroom Considerations
  • The links to the middle and high school Patent Office Resource guides are broken
  • 10-page packet includes the plan, a list of some inventors to research, a reading list, worksheets, and a link to the Black Inventor Online Museum
  • None