George Washington Carver's Inventions: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Claire DeSaussure

Claire has worked in behavioral programs at the Elementary Level and has an MLS with a focus on Creative Writing.

George Washington Carver was an inventor who loved plants. He is credited with over 300 inventions and nicknamed 'Peanut Man' because of his most famous inventions. Learn more about this kindly inventor.


Is there anything better than a PB and J sandwich for lunch? Did you know that if it wasn't for an inventor named George Washington Carver, we wouldn't be eating peanut butter? And did you know this man was born a slave, and overcame discrimination to be one of America's most important inventors?

George's Schooling

George studied hard as a child, and he was accepted into Simpson College in Iowa when he was a young man. George loved to draw plants, and his art teacher suggested George study horticulture. Horticulture is the science of growing things.

George Washington Carver
George Washington Carver

George Goes to Alabama

George did well in college and was invited to be the director of a farming college for black students, the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. It was there that George began to investigate the science of crop rotation. George found out that if you grow the same crop in the same field again and again, the plants won't grow as well. Plants take nutrients from the ground, and when the kinds of nutrients they need are gone, they stop growing. George told people to plant peanuts or sweet potatoes to help their cotton grow. He said that these plants put the nutrients that cotton needs back into the soil. People did not want to do that at first, but a pesky little creature came along and made everything change.

The Boll Weevil

In 1922, boll weevils killed a lot of the cotton harvest. So the farmers decided to plant peanuts and sweet potatoes instead. Peanuts were a good choice because if the farmers could not sell their entire crop, they would have something to eat. George Washington Carver was working away in his chemistry lab when the cotton failed. During this time, he discovered many uses for the peanut, making growing the plants even better for all of the farmers.

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