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Investigate the History of Your Favorite Toy

Students will identify their favorite childhood toy and conduct research to learn about its history, including how the toy has changed over time. They will use what they learn to project what the toy might look like in the future.

PROCESS:

  1. Review the article and discuss how several classic toys came to be. Point out that the inventors of many toys were inspired by things they saw in their daily lives.
  2. Instruct students to think about all the toys they've ever had. Encourage them to pick their favorite.
  3. Have students conduct research to learn about that toy's history. Who invented it? What was the inventor's inspiration? How has the toy changed over time? Encourage students to brainstorm ideas about how the toy might continue to change in the future.
  4. Give each student a piece of plain white paper. Have students fold their papers into thirds. Instruct them to label the sections "Past," "Present" and "Future." Then have students create their own "History of Toys" brochure with details and drawings or pictures to teach others what they learned about their favorite toy.

ASSESSMENT:

Invite students to share their brochures with the class. After the final presentation, poll the class to find out which toy students think has the most interesting past. Poll the class again to see, based on presenters' predictions, which toy students think could have the most interesting future.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3-4:
Have students conduct research in small groups. Even though group members may not be investigating the same toy, they can help each other find and understand the information they discover. Encourage groups to brainstorm ideas about how each favorite toy might continue to change in the future. Then have each group member create a brochure about his or her favorite toy.
Grades 5-6:
Have students conduct research in small groups. Even though group members may not be investigating the same toy, they can help each other find and understand the information they discover. Then have each student brainstorm ideas about how their favorite toy might change in the future. Instruct each student to create a brochure with a drawing or picture of the toy and at least three bulleted pieces of information in each section.
Grades 7-8:
Divide the class into pairs. Have partners work together as they conduct research to learn about each student's favorite toy. Then have each student brainstorm ideas about how their favorite toy might change in the future. Instruct each student to create a brochure with a drawing or picture of the toy and at least five bulleted pieces of information in each section.
Grades 9-10:
Instruct each student to identify his or her favorite toy and conduct research to learn about its history. Encourage them to identify key changes the toy has undergone since it was first invented. Have students identify one trait they think would make the toy even better in the future. Then have students create a brochure with a drawing or picture of the toy and a detailed summary in each section that describes what the toy was like in the past, changes that resulted in the present product and how the new trait they identified would make the toy even better in the future.