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Hedy Lamarr: An Inventive Mind

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The actress Hedy Lamarr was celebrated for her beauty and her work in classic Hollywood films like Boom Town (1940) and Samson and Delilah (1949), but she was also a talented inventor whose technological achievements went largely unrecognized until close to her death in 2000. One of her most significant innovations, which she developed with fellow tinkerer George Antheil during World War II, was a system designed to guide radio-controlled military torpedoes using "frequency-hopping" to prevent their interception, an invention that today forms the basis for wireless technologies like WiFi and Bluetooth. Lamarr and this invention are the focus of this interdisciplinary lesson plan from the National Women's History Museum. Written with middle school students in mind, this standards-aligned lesson plan introduces learners to "women's roles and limitations in World War II" and encourages them to think about gender representation in STEM fields and innovation today. The lesson plan's optional science component uses a radio-controlled toy car to explore the concepts of radio waves and frequencies that were part of Lamarr's invention. This lesson can be downloaded as an 11-page PDF and includes worksheets, instructions, and a vocabulary list.
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Date of Scout Publication
2019-03-29
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