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High-Tech Windsocks

What high-tech invention is most intriguing? What scientific discovery is truly amazing? Build a replica and discover the details!

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. When Jacques-Yves Cousteau was young he wanted to swim underwater like a fish. His dream came true when he perfected the aqua lung (SCUBA-diving gear). Students think about international inventions or scientific discoveries that are fascinating to them. Choose one to research. Then make an imaginative windsock model of the invention. Show the invention steps or components of the technology. Here is how we made Cousteau’s aqua lung.
    2. Roll construction paper into a wide cylinder for the diver’s body. Seal the ends together with Crayola® School Glue. Air-dry the glue.
    3. Make air tanks by decorating two short cardboard tubes with Crayola Markers. Attach the tanks to the body with self-stick hook and loop fastener tape so you can take the system apart when you explain how it works.
    4. On posterboard or a recycled file folder, draw a swimmer’s legs, arms, face, and swimsuit with Crayola Twistables or Markers. Complete your diver by drawing a face, swim fins, and hands. Cut out the parts with Crayola Scissors. Glue them on the body.
    5. Use recycled items or craft materials to finish the underwater breathing apparatus. Tie a yogurt lid (diving mask) with string or black yarn around the diver’s head. Make the air regulator with a bottle cap. Attach it to your diver’s chest with hook and loop fastener tape. Connect the regulator to a paper mouthpiece. Connect the mouthpiece to the tanks on the diver’s back with string. Attach them with more hook and loop fastener tape.
    6. Draw and cut several fish from posterboard or recycled file folders. Punch holes in them and attach them with string so they dangle from the diver. Punch another hole in the diver’s head to hang the windsock indoors. Students describe how their choice of technology was invented and how it works to the class.
  • 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: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

    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.

    SCI: Use simple models to describe phenomena concerning the functioning of a natural or designed system.

    SCI: Identify the evidence that supports particular points in an explanation.

    SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.

    SS: Identify and describe examples in which science and technology have changed the lives of people, such as in homemaking, childcare, work, transportation, and communication.

    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: The Picture History of Great Inventors by Gillian Clements; Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women by Catherine Themmish; Mistakes That Worked by Charlotte Jones; The Kid Who Invented the Popsicle: And Other Surprising Stories about Inventions by Donald F. Wullfson; Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin by Gene Baretta

    Working individually or in teams of two, students select an invention, trace its history, and investigate how the invention created a significant change for humans or animals. Investigate any revisions in the invention over time and the background of the inventor(s). Organize research into an electronic format for presentation.

    Jacques Cousteau once stated, "When you dive you begin to feel like an angel, it's a liberation of your weight." In some ways, diving is similar to riding in an airplane or space capsule. Compare and contrast these sensations. Take your research and compose an original poem to illustrate what you have found.


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