Invention of rubber
The Olmec began to make rubber about 1600 BC, even before they had formed their first state government. People got latex from the sap of a tree that grew in their area, and they mixed it with the juice of a local vine to make rubber. One thing that they used this rubber for was to make rubber balls for a popular ball game.
Invention of chewing gum
South American doctors also figured out how to use coca leaves as a powerful pain-killer. They used tobacco to cure headaches and to make people vomit up poisons, and as a kind of toothpaste. Arawak people invented the hammock, which may originally have been a fishing net hung up on hooks.
Parchment and paper
But the people of Central America also invented some of the same things that people in Asia invented. Like people in China and West Asia, Central Americans invented parchment (they used deerskin) and agave paper made from beaten fibers from a kind of fig tree.
The use of zero
The Olmec also seem to have used zero as a place marker for numbers, perhaps as early as 400 BC. This would be earlier than the first use of zero in India. But the Indian mathematicians didn’t learn about zero from the Olmec.
Some time before 1100 AD, also, Mayan astronomers figured out the minimum number of days between eclipses of the sun and eclipses of the moon, but the Mayans couldn’t predict exactly when eclipses would happen. And they probably didn’t understand why eclipses happened. They didn’t know that the moon went around the earth, or that the earth went around the sun.
Learn by doing: chew some gum with chicle in it, and find something made of rubber
More about coca leaves
More about rubber
Native American science