Why / when would we use patents in the classroom?
Entrepreuner classes , scientist reports (what did they create?), projects about 'discoveries'... there is no limit to the ideas one could use for looking at the drawings and explanations of how something works.
They aren't always easy to understand, nor to find. For school use a GOOGLE PATENTS search will probably suffice. This database goes back to patent #1, so coverage is wide, but there are holes in there. The site FREE PATENTS ONLINE is another site to try. It too uses fairly easy-to-understand language. For serious searchers, the U.S. PATENT and TRADEMARK OFFICE has it all.
Brought to you by the Smithsonian, the LEMELSON CENTER for the Study of Invention and Innovation brings many primary sources together about inventors and their inventions. Search HERE for primary sources that can help students understand patents, biography, and a visit to their archives. Send students HERE for podcasts and blogs on specific stories and the primary sources that supply the interest!