Back in February of this year I took some of my students to see the International African Inventors Museum that was on display at the Canada Science and Technology Museum in honour of Black History Month 2010.
The quality of the experience would have been vastly improved if there had been more engaged, enthusiastic, and dynamic volunteers. I had to seek out activities to do with my students myself and luckily discovered an International African Inventors Museum Quiz among piles of pamphlets on one table. Giving my students the challenge of having to find the answers to the quiz in competitive teams (the winners getting a snack), helped to get my students to really interact with the displays and learn from them.
The following is some questions from the quiz. I would recommend using some of these questions in the classroom in order to help students better understand and appreciated the contributions of people of African descent to technology, medicine, and the history of invention. The correct answers have links in order to help readers learn more about each inventor and his or her invention.
I also recommend visiting The Black Inventor Online Museum Website and the International African Inventors Website to learn more about Black inventors.
1. Before he patented an adjustable wrench, what was Jack Johnson’s career?
c. Professional Boxer
Answer: C. Professional Boxer
2. How did Lewis Latimer improve the light bulb?
a. Invented high wattage
b. Invented longer lasting filaments
c. Invented tinted light bulbs
d. Invented the dimmer switch
Answer: B. Invented longer lasting filaments
3. How many products using the peanut did George Washington Carver invent?
b. Over 200
d. More than 700
Answer: B. Over 200
4. What did Lonnie Johnson invent?
a. The bicycle
b. The singing watch
c. The Super Soaker Squirt Gun
d. The talking robot
Answer: C. The Super Soaker Squirt Gun
5. Who was the first Canadian-born Black Doctor?
a. Dr. Oscar Brewton
b. Dr. Anderson Ruffin Abbott
c. Dr. Sophia Jones
d. Dr. Alexander Augusta
Answer: B. Dr. Anderson Ruffin Abbott
6. What disease did Jessie Sleet Scales, the first African-American Public Health Nurse, spend most of her life battling against in New York City?
a. Sickle Cell
b. The flu
c. Tuberculosis (TB)
Answer: C. Tuberculosis (TB)
According to Kay Kittrell Chitty in Professional Nursing: Concepts and Challenges:
Dr. Edward T. Devine, president of the Charity Organization Society, noted the high incidence of tuberculosis among New York City’s African-American population. Aware of racial barriers and cultural resistance to seeking medical care, Dr. Devine determined that a “Negro” district nurse should be hired to work in the African-American community to persuade people to accept treatment. Jessie Sleet Scales, an African-American nurse who had been trained at Providence Hospital in Chicago, a hospital exclusively for “colored people”, was chosen to work on a trial basis. Her report to the Charity Organization Society was published in the American Journal of Nursing in 1901, entitled “A Successful Experiment”:
I beg to render to you a report of the work done by me as a district nurse among the colored people of New York City during the months of October and November…I have visited forty-one families and made 156 calls in connection with these families, caring for nine cases of consumption, four cases of peritonitis, two cases of chickenpox, two cases of cancer, one case of diphtheria, two cases of heart disease, two cases of tumor, one case of gastric catarrh, two cases of pneumonia, four cases of rheumatism, and two cases of scalp wound. I have given baths, applied poultices, dressed wounds, washed and dressed new-born babies, cared for mothers…(Sleet, 1901, p. 729).
Jessie Sleet Scales was in fact so successful in community health work that she become legendary. Scales later recommended to Lillian Ward that Elizabeth Tyler, a graduate of Freedmen’s Hospital Training School for Nurses, work with African-American patients at the Henry Street Settlement. (Page 14)
7. From what university did Dr. Charles Drew graduate?
a. University of Toronto
b. McMaster University
c. McGill University
d. Howard University
Answer: C. McGill University
8. What popular board game, involving strategy, has its roots in ancient Africa?
d. Dungeons and Dragons
Answer: C. Warri
9. Who invented the volumetric peritoneal dialysis machine?
a. Dr. Forbes
b. Dr. Dadson
c. Dr. Abbott
d. Dr. Charles
Answer: B. Dr. Dadson
10. Who is the doctor that is credited with inventing blood plasma and the development of blood banks?
a. Dr. Forbes
b. Dr. Dadson
c. Dr. Abbott
d. Dr. Charles Drew
Answer: D. Dr. Charles Drew
11. What item did John L. Love design a patent for that is used every day in schools?
c. Hole Punch
d. Pencil Sharpener
Answer: D. Pencil Sharpener
12. What did Granville T. Woods invent to make our life more comfortable and convenient?
a. Fireplace/Space Heater
b. Microwave oven/Convention oven
c. Washing Machine/Dryer
d. Telephone Apparatus/Steam Boiler Furnace
Answer: D. Telephone Apparatus/Steam Boiler Furnace
13. In what year did Lyda D. Newman invent a new and improved hairbrush?
Answer: D. 1898
14. To what field of modern technology did Dr. Mark Dean contribute?
Answer: C. Computer
International African Inventors Museum Website
The Black Inventor Online Museum Website
Famous Black Inventors Website