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Invent a Solution

Students will choose a critical problem facing their school, their community or the world. They will brainstorm ideas for a simple invention that they think would fix the problem. Then they will draw a picture of their idea and write a brief summary explaining how the device will work and how it will resolve the issue.

PROCESS:

  1. Have students brainstorm a list of critical problems facing their school, their community or the world. From that list, have students select the one problem that they consider to be the most pressing. Challenge them to explain why they think this is the most important problem to solve.
  2. Instruct students to conduct research to learn more about the issue they selected. As they investigate, have them also search for solutions that have been tried before. Which solutions worked best? What prevents those solutions from working everywhere the problem occurs?
  3. Have students brainstorm ideas for a simple invention that they think would fix the problem. Encourage them to draw a picture of their idea. Then have students write a brief summary explaining how their device works and why they think it will solve the problem.

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 an even more effective solution to the designated problem.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:     

Grades 3-4:
Have the class brainstorm a list of critical problems facing the school. Select one problem. Discuss reasons why it is important to resolve this issue. Then encourage students to question other students, teachers, school administrators and their parents about potential solutions. Regroup so students can share what they learned. Then instruct students to each think of an invention that could solve the problem. Tell them to draw a picture of their idea and write a summary telling how it works and why they think it will solve the problem.

Grades 5-6:
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct each group to identify a critical problem facing their school or community. Encourage students to interview affected people to learn more about the problem, including proposed solutions that have tried and failed in the past. Challenge groups to come up with a new invention that could solve the problem. Tell them to write a summary explaining how the invention works and why they think it will solve the problem. Instruct each group member to draw a picture of the new invention.

Grades 7-8: 
Divide the class into pairs. Instruct partners to identify a critical problem facing their community. Encourage students to search records and interview affected people to learn about proposed solutions that have tried and failed in the past. Challenge partners to come up with a new invention that could solve the problem. Have partners work together to create a prototype of their idea. Then have them write a summary explaining how the invention works and why they think it will solve the problem. 

Grades 9-10:
As a class, brainstorm a list of critical problems facing the world. Instruct each student to select one issue. Have students conduct research to learn more about the problem and solutions that have been tried before. Instruct them to identify reasons why other solutions have failed. Then challenge students to think of a simple invention that could solve the problem. Instruct them to draw a picture or create a prototype of their idea. Then have them write a detailed summary explaining how their invention works and why they think it will solve the critical problem.