The Inventor Was a Woman

The Inventor Was a Woman
Frances Cleveland: Science, Medicine, Inventions and tech

Skill: Middle School
Time Required: Two to three class periods


During Frances Folsom Cleveland’s lifetime—the last half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century—American inventors literally changed the face of America.  Although we are familiar with such inventors as Thomas Edison or Alexander Graham Bell, we are much less familiar with inventors who were (and are!) women.


After participating in this activity, students will know more about women’s contributions to the world in the form of inventions and discoveries.  They will also gain practice in biographical research and in writing compositions or letters.

Materials Required:

Access to the Internet  Books or other materials on women inventors  Paper and pens or pencils  Materials for making posters, if that option is taken


1.  From lists of women inventors, each student should select one inventor for study.  Research should include biographical information and information about the inventor’s inventions or discoveries.
2.  Students can demonstrate their knowledge in a variety of ways:

  • by writing a biography of the inventor;
  • by writing a series of letters from the inventor to his or her family or to another famous person;
  • by making a poster about the inventor.

Extending the Lesson:

This lesson may be extended by having students make a timeline of women inventors, or by setting up demonstration sites to display information about the inventors and their inventions in a Science Fair or Hall of Fame format.

Sources & Resources:

See booklist attached to A Class Act, Women Inventors
Mothers of Invention 

Women Inventors, A-Z 

More Women Inventors 

A Class Act—Women Inventors 
This lesson was developed by Averil McClelland, Kent State University.