Famous Inventions: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Kathryn Miedema Dominguez

Kathryn has taught elementary students for over ten years and has her master's degree in elementary education.

Many inventions are designed to make life easier. In this lesson, we'll learn about a few very important inventions from the last 150 years that are still used today, including the airplane, automobile, and telephone.

Famous Inventions

Imagine life two hundred years ago. Life was slower because humans didn't have the inventions that we have today. Many great inventors from the late 1800s and early 1900s have made life more convenient with their original inventions. Three very important inventions are the airplane, automobile, and telephone.


Wright Brothers First Flight Aircraft
Wright Brothers Aircraft

Orville and Wilbur Wright, also known as the Wright Brothers, dreamed of a craft that could fly. They worked hard for years on various gliders that flew by wind. However, their grand invention was adding an engine to a glider that would propel and carry a person. This design they called a 'flying machine.' On December 17, 1903, they tested their machine for the first time. The craft lifted off the ground ten feet and traveled 120 feet. Imagine riding on a craft that is intended to fly and not wearing any protective gear, such as a helmet. The Wright Brothers took a great risk to experiment with a flying machine which afforded the further development of airplanes that we use today.


The invention of cars started in the 1800s. Various men in Europe invented different types of cars, but Henry Ford is known for having a big influence on the automobile in America. In the early 1900s, not everyone could buy a car because they were really expensive. Henry Ford wanted to make a car that the average American could buy.

After many attempts, Henry Ford designed the Model T Ford in 1908. However, he is more famous for creating the assembly line system for making cars. Assembly lines are set up to make building something faster and more efficient. Each person has a specific task in making an item, such as a car. Then once your task is completed, it is passed to the next person to complete the following task. For example, if you were to make a hundred peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, then you could break down each step into an assembly line. The tasks could be (1) lay out two slices of bread, (2) spread peanut butter, (3) spread jelly, (4) put slices of bread together, and (5) wrap sandwich. As a result, the process goes a lot quicker!

Model T and Assembly Line
Model T and Assembly Line

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