August is National Inventor's Month
American agriculture owes much of its success to the innovative thinking of farmers looking for ways to solve problems and make farming easier. Thomas Jefferson was an avid farmer and inventor who saw a problem with the crude wooden plows used by farmers in his day. They barely scratched the surface and merely loosened the topsoil, making it susceptible to washing away at the first hard rain. Jefferson's solution was the moldboard plow, which lifted and turned the sod. With this tool he could plow to a depth of about six inches. This enabled farmers to contour-ridge erodible fields, plow out shallow ditches, and ridge poorly drained flat lands.
Over 100 years later a farmer from Hooker, Oklahoma, invented another plow that helped control erosion and became the "Plow to Save the Plains."
Research important agricultural inventions using these resources
AITC Lessons Related to Ag Inventions and Research
Lesson from National Ag in the Classroom about the development of the combine harvester. Includes a great STEM activity:
An index of US patents issued to individuals residing in Indian and Oklahoma Territories, 1880-1907.
- Students will compare the number of ag-related inventions with non ag-related inventions in a sampling of the inventions on the list and develop graphs to illustrate their findings.
- Students will use data from a sampling of the database to predict the number of ag-related inventions in a larger sample and compute simple probabilities as fractions, decimals or percents.
- Students will use the index to make a timeline of some of the ag-related inventions.
The shopping cart was invented in Oklahoma City in 1937 by Sylvan Goldman. Goldman's invention was inspired by a folding chair. Develop your own invention based on a common item like the folding chair. Name your invention and write one or more paragraphs explaining why it would be useful.