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Create a Simple Invention

Students will select a common problem that people face and brainstorm ideas for a simple invention to solve the problem. They will draw pictures or create prototypes of their ideas. Then they will summarize how their inventions work and explain how the inventions will benefit people who use them.

PROCESS:

  1. Write the expression "Necessity is the mother of invention" on the board. Invite students to share what they think this expression means. Guide the class to understand that every new invention is created for the same reason: The inventor needed to solve a problem. The invention was the solution.
  2. Tell students to think of a problem that they or someone they know encounters every day. How do they currently solve the problem? Is there a better way? Challenge students to think of a simple solution they could invent.
  3. Give students time to work through their ideas. Once they have a final design in mind, encourage them to draw a picture of their invention. Then have students write a brief summary explaining how their invention works and how it will benefit them or the person they designed it for.

ASSESSMENT:

Invite students to share their ideas with the class. Encourage classmates to discuss the merits of each new invention. Challenge them to identify improvements that could make the invention even more beneficial for those that use it.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3-4:
Have the class brainstorm a list of problems people face. Select one problem. Discuss reasons why it is important to solve this problem. Brainstorm ideas for potential solutions. Give each student a piece of paper and access to drawing supplies. Encourage students to draw a picture of a simple invention that would solve the problem. Instruct students to write a caption summarizing how their invention works. Have them write another caption explaining how the invention will benefit people who use it.
Grades 5-6:
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct each group to pick a common problem that people face each day. Encourage group members to discuss how that problem affects them or someone they know. Then have them brainstorm ideas for a simple invention that could solve the problem. Have each member of the group draw their own picture of the invention. Once their drawings are complete, challenge them to write a brief summary explaining how their idea works and how it will benefit people who use it.
Grades 7-8:
Divide the class into pairs. Instruct partners to pick a common problem that people face each day and conduct research to identify simple products people have invented to solve the problem before. Encourage them to analyze the products to see and identify ways the products could be improved. Then have partners come up with their own invention to solve the problem. Encourage them to create a prototype of their idea. Then have partners write a summary explaining how the invention works and how it would benefit those who use it.
Grades 9-10:
As a class, brainstorm a list of simple problems that people encounter each day. Instruct each student to select one problem. Then have them conduct research to identify simple products people have invented to solve the problem before. Encourage students to analyze the products to see and identify ways the products could be improved. Then have each student come up with his or own invention to solve the problem. Encourage students to draw a picture or create a prototype of their ideas. Then have them write a detailed summary explaining how the invention works and how it would benefit those who use it.