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Monday Morning Ready12.11.2015
Jumpstart Your Week!

Earmuffs have come a long way in 142 years. Chester Greenwood was a 15-year-old bestowed with generous ears when he decided he had had enough of the biting cold while ice skating in 1873. The first earmuffs were then born, fashioned from farm wire with fur sewn on them by his grandmother.... < read more >
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Grade 3-4

Do you think earmuffs are the best way to keep your ears warm? Why or why not?

Grade 5-6

Chester Greenwood accomplished many things during his lifetime. Why do you think people remember him most for inventing earmuffs?

Grade 7-8

How do people celebrate Chester Greenwood Day? What activities do you think should be incorporated into this annual event?

Grade 9-10

Why do you think the Maine Legislature declared Chester Greenwood Day on the first day of winter in 1977? What reasons do you think they had for creating this holiday? Why do you think the event was later moved to the first Saturday in December?

LESSON PLAN
Investigate an Invention

PROCESS:

  1. Have students brainstorm a list of products that people only use during the winter months. 
  2. Instruct students to select one item from the list. Tell them to conduct research to find out who invented the product, where and when it was invented and why the inventor created this particular item. Encourage them to search for a picture that shows what the invention looked like in its original state.
  3. Next, have students examine how the product has evolved over time. Instruct them to identify key improvements. Encourage them to find pictures depicting each example.
  4. Challenge students to identify one way they think the product could be improved even more. Encourage them draw a picture illustrating their ideas. 
  5. Have students use the information they collected to create a detailed timeline about their product. 

ASSESSMENT: 

Invite students to present their timelines to the class. After everyone has shared, point out that all of the products are related to winter. However, they can be categorized in different ways. If necessary provide examples such as: items that remove ice or snow; items that help people deal with the weather; or items that people use just for fun. Challenge students to categorize the items in as many ways as they can.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3-4:
Brainstorm a list of winter products as a class. Then have students complete the project in small groups. Encourage them to include at least three notable product improvements on their timelines.

Grades 5-6:
Brainstorm a list of winter products as a class. Then have students complete the project with a partner. Encourage them to include at least five notable product improvements on their timelines.

Grades 7-8:
Assign each student a partner. Instruct pairs to brainstorm ideas and select one winter-related product to investigate. Tell them to identify at least five notable product improvements. In addition to the basic information required, challenge students to uncover details that tell about the inspiration behind each change. Encourage students to be creative as they incorporate this information into their timelines.

Grades 9-10:
Assign each student a partner. Instruct pairs to brainstorm ideas and select one winter-related product to investigate. Tell them to identify as many key product improvements as they can. In addition to the basic information required, challenge students to uncover details that tell about the inspiration behind each change. Provide blank index cards. Instruct students to create an advertisement for each change on a card. Challenge them to depict the changes in a way that is appropriate for the time periods when the product improvements occurred. Have students incorporate their advertisements into their timelines.

SMITHSONIAN RESOURCES
Places of Invention: Interactive Map
This interactive map from the Lemelson Center explores the origins of inventions all around the world. Students can also add their own story about a place of invention.

People Movers
In this lesson, students will investigate how transportation has evolved through the years and how it may continue to change in the future through teamwork activities.

Lighting a Revolution
This online exhibit explores the process of invention by comparing Thomas Alva Edison’s well-known work on the electric light bulb a century ago with several modern lighting inventions. It considers the process of innovation through five steps: preconditions, invention, promotion, competition and consequences.

Resources for Teaching American History: Invention
This multimedia site includes teacher-selected primary sources, a video on the electric guitar, lesson plans on the American office and the history of photography and an Advanced Placement DBQ on technological changes between 1870 and 1920.

Sneakers, Telephones, Cups, and Curls: The Power of Invention in Everyday Life
In this lesson, students will learn how to identify and solve problems as they modify the design of an everyday household item. Students will learn about innovation, analyze information and work in collaborative teams.
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