Inventions Month in Genius Numbers: Learn About Garrett Morgan and Yellow Traffic Lights With This Real-World Activity

May 27, 2021 / DIY & Printable

Genius content refreshes every month! This month is all about inventions. From the internet to your favorite pair of shoes, every invention grew from an idea in someone’s head. At Osmo, we think it’s fun to learn about how! Follow along for a month of special game updates, real-life genius stories, and real-world activities.

Share this week’s interactive, printable Inventions Month content with your child by clicking the button below, and scroll down for a preview!

Game Update

Check out the Osmo Numbers games for kids for a limited-time “trip” to the Scotia Coast near Antarctica, where one of the world’s oldest meteorological stations still stands. Only available to play this month!

Genius Spotlight: Garrett Morgan

Some inventions have become such a part of everyday life that it’s hard to picture how the world would work without them! Can you imagine a traffic light without red, yellow, and green? All 3 colors are so important. But 100 years ago (back when roads were still shared with horse-drawn carriages!) traffic signs only signalled for drivers to “Stop” or “Go.” 

While driving around these busy roads one day in 1923, Garrett Morgan witnessed a serious accident that he felt could have been prevented if the vehicles had known they needed to slow down. Garrett was skilled at repairing sewing machines and liked tinkering around with inventions in his shop, so he created a new sign. It had a third signal, meant to slow people down before stopping. He ended up selling it for $40,000 to a company called General Electric. They developed Garrett’s life-saving invention into the yellow light you see driving around today!

Real-World Activity: Counting Yellow Lights

Have your child this educator-approved activity at home. This week’s printable has instructions with photos!

Next time you’re in the car or on a walk with a parent, count how many seconds the light stays yellow at different traffic intersections (hint: it won’t always be the same!). Which light has the longest yellow around your neighborhood?

For added learning: Use math to predict how long the yellow will last! It’s usually [Speed limit] ÷ 10, in seconds. For example, if the speed limit is 30, that road’s traffic light will probably spend 3 seconds displaying the color yellow before turning to red.