Inventors' Workshop

Inventors' Workshop lesson plan

What do all inventors have? Creativity! Form a team to design an invention that could change the world.

  • 1.

    An invention is a product of the imagination, which can be a device or a process. With Crayola® Colored Pencils, students make a list of inventions that make their lives easier. Compile a class list of helpful inventions with Crayola Washable Markers.

  • 2.

    Students discuss with classmates what their lives would be like without these inventions. What wouldn't you be able to do? If possible, interview someone who lived before the items were invented. With a small group, students act out what their lives would be like without these inventions.

  • 3.

    Students now collaborate to make a class list of inventions that they wish were available. What tasks could be made easier? How?

  • 4.

    Divide students into small groups. Each group will choose one invention to make. Together, students draw a sketch of possible invention. Write a paragraph to explain the name of the invention, how it works, and its purpose.

  • 5.

    Break the invention into smaller parts so each person can make part of it. Use recycled cardboard boxes, recycled foam produce trays, recycled file folders, recycled cardboard paper towel rolls, recycled plastic containers, paper cups and plates, and other craft items. Cut pieces with Crayola Scissors. Try to make some parts moveable, perhaps with rubber bands.

  • 6.

    Decorate each part of the team's creation with Crayola Crayons, Markers, and Colored Pencils. Assemble stationary parts of invention with Crayola School Glue. Dry.

  • 7.

    Students cover their work areas with recycled newspaper. Paint parts of the group's invention with Crayola Tempera Paint. Dry.

  • 8.

    Glue on decorative craft items such as buttons and collage materials. Dry.

  • 9.

    Put all the parts together to create a whole-group invention.

  • 10.

    Students may act out parts of the invention during a presentation to classmates. Then put all the parts together to become a "live" version of the invention. Create sounds that your section of the machine might make: Whiz! Bang! Clank!

Standards

  • LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
  • LA: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
  • LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
  • LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.
  • SCI: Define a practical problem that can be solved through the development of a simple system that requires the periodic application of a force initiated by a feedback mechanism to maintain a stable state.
  • SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.
  • SS: Consider existing used and propose and evaluate alternative uses of resources and land in home, school, community, the region, and beyond.
  • SS: Identify and describe examples in which science and technology have led to changes in the physical environment, such as the building of dams and levees, offshore oil drilling, medicine from rain forests, and loss of rain forests due to extraction of resources or alternative uses.
  • VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.
  • VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

Adaptations

  • Possible classroom resources include: What Color Is My World?: The Lost History of African-American Inventors by Kareem Abdul-Jabar & Raymond Obstfeld; The Picture History of Great Inventors by Gillian Clements; The New Way Things Work by David Macauley; Journal of Inventions: Leonardo da Vinci by Jaspre Bark; A Picture Book of Thomas Alva Edison by David A. Adler; Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women by Catherine Themmish & Melissa Sweet
  • Students, working individually or in teams of two, investigate the life of an inventor who made a major contribution to society with his invention(s). Organize research into an electronic format for presentation to classmates.
  • Design a timeline of inventions studies by classmates. How many were invented during student lifetimes? What about in the lifetimes of parents or teachers? Grandparents? Who were the inventors? What steps did they take on the way to successfully inventing?
  • Working in small groups, students have devised an invention that will somehow change their lives. Student groups collaborate to compose a fictitious story that describes how the group's invention to change the world.
  • Host a class or school family night to demonstrate inventions. Interview families to find out what their favorite inventions are and why.