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Inventors and Inventions

Compiled By: shazam

Here is a collection of activities for teaching about inventors and inventions

African American Inventors
Posted by: Suzanne

I have a great website I will forward to you on African American Inventors such as Garret Morgan,inventor of the gas mask and first person to patent a traffic signal,George Crum who invented the potato chip!,Phillip B. Downing, inventor of the street letter drop mailbox,Dr. Charles Richard Drew and more. Maybe each child can name the person and what he or she invented. I hope this helps.

2nd grade inventors
Posted by: sally

I think this would be a fun activity and even the family COULD be involved.

Make an assignment that each child is to collect a number (10, 15, ... your choice) of clean throw away items ( paper towel tubes, toilet paper tubes, plastic pudding cups, plastic spoons, forks, piece of foil, plastic wrap, rubber bands, etc. etc, etc.) from home. Choose a number of items and all must fit inside a bag given for the collection, (like a paper lunch bag for example). The student and parent could talk about possible inventions that could be made with the stuff. If you would like they could even "build" the invention at home, OR the bag of stuff could be brought to school and on a given day the children could start building. Invite the parents to come to school for the activity and all can build together.

Inventors Unit
Posted by: Annette

I do an inventors unit and my 4th grade students love it. I have them think of something that would make their lives easier. They have to tell what it does and how it works.

Then I group the students into threes or fours a few days later. They decide what one they would like to try to make and sell. If it can't really be made by them then they must tell how it works. We make commericals for our products by writing scripts. Then they act it out telling about their product, how much it is, where they can buy it and how it can improve their life. We tape them so they can watch them like real commercials.

Posted by: Liz

My alaphabet is all inventors and inventions, so I allow the kids to choose one of them. They use a cube tissue box and cover it with construction paper. (Keep the opening at the bottom). On side one, they tell about the inventor, side 2, the invention, side 3 life without that invention and side 4 life with the invetion. I use a fastener and string and hang them from the lights.

Posted by: patt

We've done Macaroni machine inventions after studying simple machines.. Each child "invented a machine" that had one or more simple machine in it. They drew it then glued macoroni(all differnt shapes) onto the drawing. Mocels are imoprtant. It works they love it and it's tactile too

Some machines wre The homework machine, the bed maker etc.

American Inventions
Posted by: Carolyn

My kids had a great time learning Morse code. You can divide the class into small groups and provide each group with a copy of the Morse code alphabet. Have each group write a sentence in Morse code and take turns sending it to the other groups by tapping the code out with a pencil on a desk. have the other groups decode the message as it is tapped out. Continue until all groups have tapped out messages.

Have students create an electric circuit with wires, batteries, and a bulb to help them understand what Thomas Edison faced when he was creating the light bulb.

Novel / Inventions
Posted by: Jesica

1. Frindle - a boy decides to make up his own word - pits himself against his teacher (a woman who fights him on the outside but is secretly cheering him on)

2. The Toothpast Millionaire - a boy decides that toothpaste is way too expensive so he decides to make his own - it ends up turning into a million dollar business

Both of these are great tie-ins to a unit on inventing.

Junk Cars
Posted by: Rach

I do a really large unit with my 6th graders on inventors. We study a lot of them and we create on paper a lot of crazy inventions. I combine this unit with my scientific process unit. To end the unit the students must make a junk car. The criteria is that they must be made out of junk and they must be self propelled and travel at least one meter. (no sling shots or ramps) The students usually use a rubber band fixed around the back axile. We have a big day to run all the cars. We call it our 6th grade Junk Car Rally it includes students parents and pizza. If you would like more information and my rubric, just email me.

Science Read Alouds (quick)
Posted by: Kelly

There is a book I used to read to my students last year...I used it only when there was downtime...which was rare..but it really came in handy. The stories are very short..less than 5 minutes.
The name of the book is "Mistakes that Worked" by

It definately touches on science and wacky discoveries and also the fact that some great discoveries/inventions were made via mistakes...I always point out that it's ok to make mistakes!
For example..Leaning tower of Pisa..chocolate chip cookies...cheese...coca-cola...doughnut holes...velcro..etc...
It's a great book..the kids love it..I teach 5th, 6th 7th grade science.

Have a great year!

egg drop
Posted by: Avery

Hi! I've never done this activity personally,however, I remember a 5th grade teacher giving the assignment. His requirements were to design some sort of a container that would keep your egg from breaking when dropped from the roof of the school. Kids could use any kind of materials. I saw a few designs that included parachutes, padding and lots of other creative types. I would think that this would be a good question for a science website or a physics one--ask your local high school physics teacher for some ideas. You could tie it into safety (car, airline, personal), new inventions, and a whole host of other kinds of math, writing, art, consumer research lessons.

Posted by: Marcie

(OK--I had some trouble posting this, so hopefully this works)
Anyway--I'm in a very similiar situation. I teach 6-7 grade, mostly math, reading and English. I have 95% LD, a couple ED, and two MMR. I too, started out with absolutley no books, lots of ideas, and very little ability to put those ideas into action. However, over the course of time, I've collected lots of books, watched other teachers, and borrowed more ideas and materials. This is one of my favorite "themes" that we do each year: Inventions.
We start with "how-to" reports. Then we each pick an invention to do a short report on. (I have found a pick with short 1 page stories on inventions.) Then they write a poem on that invention. We also look into advertisements, and the "hooks" that are used. Finally, the students each invent something (it doesn't have to work). All of this ends with an "Invention Convention", in which the students share their inventions, and present them to other classes and administators. It's amazing all of the skills that are pulled together for it. I've done it 6 years now, and it only gets better. If you'd like more information, let me know. Also, as far as teaching story elements. I like to use picture books. They are short enough to finish in one class period, so the students aren't having to remember elements of the story that may have been read a week ago. Anyway, hope all of this helps a little. Good luck!