Young Inventors
Manuel Perez ] Up ]





Young Inventors

Twenty years later:

            a multimedia teaching strategy by Manuel F. Perez

GRADE LEVEL:               6-8th GRADE

Students will participate in a 2 - 4 week long study during which they role play the part of inventors. 
Activities in science and throughout the curriculum feature these students and meet standards referring to:
               Scientific Inquiry, 
               Properties of matter, 
               Form, changes and conservation of energy, 
               Effective communication, 
               Technology integration,
               Interconnections with other academic subjects.
As well as beginning work on their requirements for an "Exit Project" in Science.
Objectives Measured by:
To heighten interest in science and invention Number of ideas each student proposes and works on.
To stimulate thinking about science and invention Discussions in groups and number of questions raised in class.
To use the interest in science to encourage academic growth in other curricular areas. Quality of reports and presentations on :
Inventors and history (Social Studies), 
Designing inventions (Technology), 
Sketching inventions (Art),
Proper use of technological terms (Language Arts), and 
mathematical formulas or calculations
To increase self concept through participation in exciting projects Neatness and punctuation in reports and presentations. 
Note: is parental support evident?
To increase understanding of science concepts Description of use of simple machines in their inventions, and proper use of scientific terms in their reports and presentations.
To incorporate technology and the use of the computer in their academic endeavors. Use of suggested Internet sites or CD-ROM's for research; 
Interest in using classroom computers to list inventions and prepare presentations.


    Software and Hardware Requirements
    Computer(s), printer, Internet Link.
    Word processing, encyclopedia and drawing software, Hyper Studio, Apple Works 
    Optional: HyperCard or other presentation program, scanner, digital or video camera, materials from the "Invent America" Program and Contest.

    Other Needs:
    Books on inventions,  coordinated with school library. 
    Materials to design and/or construct inventions, according to need and availability. 
    Parental support for researching and in the case of constructing inventions.

    Time Required: 10 - 20 class-hours, at the 8th grade level..
    Note: The idea  can evolve into an ongoing program for an after school program. 

    Phases of the Program:

    1. The teacher will reintroduce the idea of "Invention" by reviewing what the students know about the scientific method, energy, machines, and Leonardo Da Vinci (a wonderful project done during December break).   For spring or winter break, the children will bring in information about inventors. A curriculum sheet will cover various reference sites on the Internet, as well as CD ROM's available in school. The rubric will cover all requirements for the report.

    2. During a discussion of the inventors and their inventions, the students will be told that they are going to become inventors for the next two months. They will find out what "Camp Invention" is in New York.  Mention, and if possible show other children's inventions: "underwater walkie talkie", "tearless onion slicer", "barrette holder".
    They will fill out the first two columns of the "What I know, What I want to know, and What I learned" Sheet.
    We will find out how many think they might be able to invent something.  Besides discussing why people invent and improve products, we will discuss the invention ideas the students identified over the vacation. All students will be encouraged to think that they are able to create and invent.

    3. As a classroom group, the students will use the computer to make a list of inventions they would like to create for themselves. Using the overhead projector, we will show the growing list as different students type in ideas for inventions. We will also Print out the list and post it in the classroom. The students will keep track of the class list by computer.
    Conversations have been held with other teachers to have the study of invention cross the curriculum by including invention-related activities in a variety of subject areas such as English, reading, mathematics, and social studies.

    4. We will visit the school library and/or the computer lab so the students may look up information on inventions. We will use electronic encyclopedias, World Wide Web sites, and computer software programs (if available) along with traditional library resources, according to the curriculum sheet for inventions. At home, or in class, the students may use "how things work" type programs and thinking skills puzzle-type programs to study cause and effect.

    5.  The students will be invited to process letters to scientists, inventors, government agencies (NASA, military groups, etc.) and companies requesting information on invention and new ideas.

    6. We will discuss the idea that not all inventions are complicated. For example, one of the national winning entries in an invention competition for students was a ribbon and barrette holder designed by a first grade student. This invention was made from a wire coat hanger.
    We will talk about simple inventions that might help the student's parents at home.

    7. They will have to write or word process a short description of their invention and make a drawing (on paper or on the computer) of the invention. Their ideas will be shared with the class.
    The students will use a computer drawing program to design and label their invention ideas. We will print out invention ideas for the class.

    8. Students will make computer presentations of students advertising their inventions.
    We will use a word processing or other program and let the students enter information they find about their invention or similar inventions . Students will be encouraged to continue to enter information throughout the school year. Using a scanner or digital camera, invention drawings may be placed  into the document. This work should become a booklet (diary) of class invention work and ideas collected throughout the year. The book should be available for checkout from the school library.

    9. Dividing the students into groups, each group will create (design on paper) a very simple Rube Goldberg-type cause and effect machine.  (Rules for construction, materials, and safety will be clearly stated in a rubric.)

    10.  Parents will be invited to visit the classroom for a program in which students talk about their inventions and show either the designs for an invention that is not possible at this time or actual student-created inventions. 

    Students and the school may participate in the  INVENT AMERICA! CONTEST
    If desired, a school fair can be celebrated in the school or set up on the Internet.
    Invention ideas may also be sent to "Scientific American Explorations, at 415 Madison Avenue, NY,NY, 10017, for publication in their children's magazine "EXPLORATIONS".



    As a general site to visit for information about science and other homework questions, you can go to:

    Learn who invented what and get more great information about inventors and inventing at this interesting Massachussets Institute of Technology site:
     The Invention Dimension!

    To research, develop and showcase your invention (or any science project) you can get ideas from cartoon scientist Bunsen Bob, at :

    To find information about an inventor, in this site you can put in the "keyword" inventor, with the name of the invention or topic you want to learn about: 
    (For example, inventor electricity brings up Benjamin Franklin)
     Biographical Dictionary

    For an exciting on-line museum experience with exhibits on visual illusions and ideas on things you can do with light and the computer, you can visit:
     The Exploratorium's Online Exhibits

    Idea and Program adapted from project promoted by The Apple Learning Institute, and designed by:
    Peggy Rodgers, Retired Grade 2 Teacher, Florida
    Also includes suggestions by Joan Weber, Glendale I.S. 119 (New York City) Technology Teacher and staff member at  "Camp Invention 1999" and "Camp Invention 2000" in New York City.

    Copyright 2001-2006, Manuel Perez
    All Rights Reserved.  May be reproduced and adapted for educational use.
    All photographic images are property of the author.

     Animated GIFs courtesy MediaBuilder.



Webmaster Mail:                 Copyright 2001 - 2006, Manuel Perez, Derechos Reservados.
All Rights Reserved.  All photographic images are property of the author.
  Animated GIF courtesy MediaBuilder and