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Cool Inventions

The inventor of the snowmobile, a French Canadian named Bombardier, inspires creativity! Construct inventions with recycled materials.

  • Grade 4
    Grade 5
    Grade 6
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Ask students what they think was going on in the mind of 15-year-old Joseph-Armand Bombardier that inspired him to combine a sled, wooden propeller, and an engine from a Model T Ford? In the early 1920s, he put these parts together to make a vehicle that could travel quickly over snow. A French Canadian, Bombardier lived in the country, where there were no snowploughs. To go anywhere in winter, people had to take a horse-drawn sleigh or walk in snowshoes. So Bombardier knew first-hand that there was a great need for fast, snowy transport.
    2. The first auto-neige (snowmobile) was an experiment. Afterwards, Armand took various jobs and courses to learn more to make his invention a success. Students research all the different components that Bombardier invented to make his snowmobile able to move forward and backward over the snow. These include a sprocket wheel track system with belts and ski runners.
    3. Discuss with the class what prompts people to invent things. Is it luck? A strong need? What role does location play? Students research the origins of some inventions that they think are important.
    4. With Crayola® Colored Pencils, students write down notes about things that they believe need to be invented. Draft a rough sketch of the invention. Students collect recycled and collage materials such as boxes, cardboard rolls, and buttons.
    5. Students use Crayola School Glue and Scissors to transform these recycled items into a model of their invention. Students should make working parts if possible and show as many details as they can. Dry.
    6. Cover the area with recycled newspaper. Students paint sections of their invention with Crayola Tempera Paint. Dry.
    7. Students highlight parts of the invention with Crayola Gel Markers.
    8. Students stage an exhibition or give a presentation of their invention. Describe why they invented it, how it works, and what it does.
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

    LA: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

    LA: Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.

    SCI: Ask questions about the natural and human-built worlds.

    SCI: Construct drawings or diagrams as representations of events or systems.

    SCI: Construct original explanations of phenomena using knowledge of accepted scientific theory and linking it to models and evidence.

    SS: Explore and describe similarities and differences in the ways groups, societies, and cultures address similar human needs and concerns.

    SS: Identify and describe ways family, groups, and community influence the individual's daily life and personal choices.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of their experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Encourage students to research inventions that did not work. Students can research the inventor, what problem he was attempting to resolve, and the process he followed. Report organized research in an electronic format.

    Students investigate the inventor Rube Goldberg. Online information is located at: Prepare a summary of the inventor's life. Make a list of 4 or 5 simple machines that are used in everyday life. Select one of these machines to investigate in a step-by-step process to uncover just how the machine works. Build a model to show classmates what you have uncovered using recycled materials and Crayola products.

    Research the process of obtaining a patent for a new idea. Organize the process into an electronic presentation to share with classmates.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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