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American Genius

Use this collection of educational content to delve deeper into history and geography topics and the show's main themes of competition, innovation, and failure as a critical part of success.

American Genius reenactment. (Photo Credit: National Geographic Channels/Evelyn Hockstein)

Photograph by National Geographic Channel/Evelyn Hockstein

On the National Geographic Channel

On the National Geographic Channel  

National Geographic Channel's American Genius series chronicles the innovation competitions that pitted history’s brightest minds against each other in the race to lay claim to the future. Each episode focuses on a rivalry, delving into the power struggles, deceit, fluke timing, and raw ambition out of which innovation was born. Iconic masterminds pushed themselves to the limits of human genius, overcoming equally brilliant and ruthless competitors to turn history’s greatest ideas into reality.


Activities

Use these activities to teach students about innovation, competition, and perseverance.

American Genius: Innovation

American Genius: Innovation  

Students assess three innovations and read stories of the competition between specific innovators then participate in a debate to determine how their lives were impacted.

American Genius: Competition

American Genius: Competition  

Students review the historical competition between journalists, William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, then evaluate a range of current news media to determine their fitness for different purposes and write a persuasive essay on the accuracy and bias of selected articles.

American Genius: Perseverance

American Genius: Perseverance  

Students investigate the importance of failure to the process of innovation by investigating several items that were invented by accident. They share one story by creating a comic strip poster and essay connecting the trait of perseverance to success.


History

Have students investigate some historical moments that highlight great innovations.


Media

Use the video, photograph, and articles to inspire your students to think critically about the world around them and how many parts of it were designed.


Reference

Learn more about key topics with these informational texts.

nuclear energy

nuclear energy  

Nuclear energy is the energy in the nucleus, or core, of an atom. Nuclear energy can be used to create electricity, but it must first be released from the atom.

nanotechnology

nanotechnology  

Nanotechnology is the study and manipulation of individual atoms and molecules.