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Teaching Apparatus

National Museum of American History
The apparatus consists of a metal wheel, indented around the rim to hold a rubber edging. The wheel rotates on a metal shaft which is attached to a wooden handle.

Teaching Apparatus

National Museum of American History
The apparatus consists of a metal wheel, indented around the rim. There is no rubber edging. The wheel rotates on a metal shaft which is attached to a wooden handle.

FlashMaster Electronic Teaching Device

National Museum of American History
The Flashmaster, introduced in 2002 for both school and home use, was designed to be an electronic alternative to flash cards in arithmetic teaching. It not only gave examples to be solved, but allowed for timed tests and tracked student performance.

The lightweight instrument has a gray plastic case. One selects the learning activity desired by pressing one of the six yellow buttons near the top. Three white buttons allow one to choose the time limit, the arithmetic operation, and the level of the activity. The time and the level, along with the problem to be solved, appear on the screen below. Students enter answers by pressing the digit buttons across the bottom.

According to the cardboard box, the instrument was "DESIGNED, DEVELOPED & MANUFACTURED FOR FLASHMASTER LLC (/) BY ACCENT ENTINEERING (LUBBOCK, TEXAS) and TRONICBROS. (HONG KONG)." Flashmaster LLC has an address in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Skinner Teaching Machine

National Museum of American History
From the 1920s, psychologists have explored ways to automate teaching. In the 1950s, the psychologist B. F. Skinner of Harvard University suggested that techniques he had developed for training rats and pigeons might be adopted for teaching humans. He used this apparatus teaching a Harvard course in natural sciences.

The machine is a rectangular wooden box with a hinged metal lid with windows. Various paper discs fit inside, with questions and answers written along radii of the discs. One question at a time appears in the window nearer the center. The student writes an answer on a paper tape to the right and advances the mechanism. This reveals the correct answer but covers his answer so that it may not be changed.

Skinner's "programmed learning" was refined and adopted in many classrooms in the 1960s. It underlies techniques still used in instruction for the office, the home and the school.

Teaching Problems

Archives of American Art
Note : 2 p. : handwritten, ill. ; 28 x 22 cm.

Puppet Teaching

National Museum of American History

science teaching kit

National Museum of American History

science teaching kit

National Museum of American History

science teaching kit

National Museum of American History

science teaching kit

National Museum of American History

electric switch, science teaching

National Museum of American History

Teaching Apparatus, Kanwille Educational Radial Device

National Museum of American History
This instrument consists of a cardboard disc with a second disc rotating atop it, held together by a joint at the center. Close to the rim is a circle of drawings of common objects such as an apple, a bird, a cat, a dog, an eagle, a fish and so forth alphabetically to a zebra. Drawings of fourteen additional objects complete the decoration of the rim. Immediately inside this ring of pictures is a ring of capital and small letters that corresponds to the first letter in the spelling of the pictured objects. For example," A a" is next to the drawing of the apple. Inside this ring is a ring of simple multiplication problems, starting with 1 x 1. In side this is ring of fractions, simple whole numbers, and simple algebraic signs (+, -, X, =, etc.). The upper disc also has three holes in it that line up radially. Rotating this hole so that the outmost segment spells out the name of an object (as BIRD bird), the middle window shows the result of the multiplication problem next to the drawing (for the bird, the problem is 1 x 2, so the answer shown is 2) and the innermost window spells out the fraction, number or symbol (for the bird drawing, the fraction shown is 1/8 and the window reveals the phrase one eighth).

Compare this instrument to U.S. Patent 1,578,708, for a game device, issued to Gene G. Beckhardt of Newark, New Jersey, on March 30, 1926. The patented object was designed for purposes ranging from education to fortunetelling. It had a spinning pointer at the center.

Early Teaching Machine of B. F. Skinner

National Museum of American History
In the years following World War II, American school enrollments boomed. One parent, the psychologist and Harvard University faculty member B. F. Skinner, noted that students might benefit from machines that gave extra opportunities for drill. Skinner designed this instrument to teach elementary arithmetic. The wooden box has a black plastic knob in front. The hinged lid extends over the middle of the top, and covers a punched paper tape. A window in this lid reveals one problem at a time. In front of the window is a set of six levers that allows one to set a number in a hole, to answer a question. A mark on the lid of the machine reads: TEACHING MACHINE EXHIBITED IN MARCH, 1954 (/) AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH [/] CONFERENCE ON “PSYCHOLOGY AND THE BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES”. Compare to other Skinner teaching machines, 1984.1069.01 and MA.335539. Reference: Alexander Rutherford, Beyond the Box: B. F. Skinner’s Technology of Behavior from Laboratory to Life, 1950s–1970s, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2009, esp. pp. 26-33.

Arithmetic Teaching Apparatus, Kiddie Kounto Board

National Museum of American History
This device teaches simple addition and subtraction. It consists of a central cardboard disc with a rotating disc on its front and on its back, all held together by a joint at the center. One side of the disc has addition problems written around the rim, the second has subtraction problems. Each of the rotating discs has an indentation and a window along one section.The indentation reveals an arithmetic problem, the window shows the answer. Moveable paper covers would cover the answer windows. The covers are missing on this example. The addition side of the instrument also is printed with a drawing of a young George Washington next to a felled sapling. Text below this reads: "I DID IT WITH MY LITTLE HATCHET." The subtraction side of the device shows a tall boy stretched out beside a fireplace reading a book. It is labeled: ABRAHAM LINCOLN BY THE FIRESIDE. Reference: [Advertisement], Toys, 18, June, 1921, p. 84. Advertised as patented and copyrighted.

electric switch, science teaching

National Museum of American History

contact key, science teaching

National Museum of American History

induction cylinder, science teaching

National Museum of American History

Teaching ELL Students– Teaching Academic Vocabulary

Smithsonian Science Education Center
"Quick Tips: Resources for Teachers” is a series of short videos providing down-to-earth advice and instructional tips to teachers of STC™, our signature science curriculum. Each “Quick Tip” offers practical suggestions by experienced teachers for handling materials or managing classrooms in science investigations.

teaching aid, birth control

National Museum of American History

Dick and Jane Teaching Chart

National Museum of American History

Dick and Jane Teaching Chart

National Museum of American History

Teaching Abacus, or Numeral Frame

National Museum of American History
To teach children basic arithmetic, nineteenth century teachers used numeral frames like this one. They resemble a Russian abacus, in that beads move crosswise. However, each bead represents a unit digit (unlike the abacus, where beads in different rows or columns have different place values). Soldiers returning from Russia after the Napoleonic Wars introduced this kind of abacus into France. In England, teacher and educational reformer Samuel Wilderspin promoted its use. Educators from both France and England brought it to the U. S., where it began to sell commercially in the late 1820s. Some numeral frames were purchased and others homemade. The device was used to teach counting, simple addition, multiplication, and fractions. Most early numeral frames had 12 or 10 beads in a row. This one has 8 parallel copper wires, each with 18 beads. The instrument was used in Mexico. It came to the Smithsonian in 1979. There are no maker’s marks. Reference: P. A. Kidwell, Amy Ackerberg-Hastings, and D. L. Roberts, Tools of American Mathematics Teaching, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008, pp. 87-104.

Teaching Apparatus, Mathbox Learning System

National Museum of American History
This apparatus is designed to promote the Standards for School Mathematics advocated by the National Council of School Mathematics beginning in the late 1980s. It consists of three closed plastic boxes that pose problems in mathematical reasoning, a fourth plastic box containing parts used to solve these problems, and a scale used to weigh boxes and parts in problem solving. A sheet describing the apparatus and a manual are included. The first box has written on the label: How long is the chain? It contains a metal chain which is mostly inside the box. The second box has written on the label: How many red marbles are in the box? It involves estimating the number of red marbles in a box when one can only see some of the marbles through a slit in the short side. Nine blue marbles (as well as the empty box, two links of chain, and the scale) are provided. The third box poses the problem "Determine the weight of each metal piece." It contains two unequal metal rings, one attached to each end of a plastic rod 12 cm. long which is pivoted at its center. A scale of centimeters is stamped on the inside of the box behind the heavier weight. A hole runs along the edge of the box above the lighter weight. Also provided are another plastic rod of the same size and shape, with a stand.

The dimensions given are for the four plastic boxes together, with the bit of chain protruding.

According to the donor, the MathBox was developed by Paul Hartung, a professor of mathematics at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania. It was not a particularly successful product, but led Extra Measures to begin selling scales for weighing objects, which were very successful.

Teaching Machine Component, Poetry Disc

National Museum of American History
This museum number covers a paper disc used with a Skinner teaching machine , as well as an accompanying sheet of paper. A mark on the disc reads: P-10 (/) (poetry) (/])panel used. A mark on the sheet reads: Panel to be used With Program P-10.

For details, see the discussion of teaching machine MA.335539.
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