Aug 28 2009

Invention Convention: Studying Science to Spark Creativity

Technology, science and history merge to shed light on the world of inventions.

Technology, science and history merge to shed light on the world of inventions.

This lesson gives students an opportunity to research how science and technology have evolved over the course of history, as well as how inventions have made people's lives easier. It is designed to encourage students to apply basic science skills in a creative and productive manner. Students are encouraged to identify a need and to use problem-solving and creative thinking to invent a product that would fill the need.

Lesson Description: This project has multiple steps. The class will first discuss inventions and their uses. Students then interview a senior citizen to find out what life was like without some of our modern tools and follow up with research on different inventions that have improved our lives since that time.

In the science lab, students will work in teams to come up with an innovation to present at an Invention Convention. The invention may be a new product or it may be a new process for doing something. Students will then work together to bring their idea to life. Students will also go into the computer lab to research existing inventions. They are given a worksheet to organize these inventions from oldest to most recent.

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Once students have learned about inventors and their creations, they will craft a timeline using Microsoft Word. This timeline is created using the line tool on the drawing toolbar and 10 text boxes. Students will choose nine inventions from their worksheet to be used in their Inventor's Timeline. These will be placed in chronological order and color-coded by the type of invention (for example, communication, travel, etc.). Each text box will include the name of an inventor, the invention, the date of its creation and an image of the invention. The 10th text box will include the students' invention information along with a picture of their creation. Students then make a PowerPoint presentation using the research information and the details about their invention.

Subject Area: This lesson was designed for a seventh-grade science class but could be modified to fit fourth through eighth grades.

Curriculum Standards: This lesson addresses the following Illinois Academic Standards for Science:

  • 13.B. – Know and apply concepts that describe the interaction between science, technology and society.
  • 13.B.3a – Identify and explain ways that scientific knowledge and economics drive technological development.
  • 13.B.3b – Identify important contributions to science and technology that have been made by individuals and groups from various cultures.

This project also addresses the following ISTE Education Technology Standards for Students:

  • Students demonstrate a sound understanding of the nature and operation of technology systems.
  • Students use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity and promote creativity.
  • Students use technology to locate, evaluate and collect information from a variety of sources.
  • Students use technology resources for solving problems and making informed decisions.


Grading Rubric: This project is divided into four parts: interview (10 points), timeline (25 points), PowerPoint presentation (25 points) and invention (40 points). Students work individually on their interview, timeline and presentation. To ensure that all students share in the creation of their invention, they work in teams on that part of the project during science class.

Teaching Tips

  • Brainstorm everyday inventions that are around us, and discuss.
  • In the computer lab, discuss the layout used to create your timeline.
  • Discuss criteria for the PowerPoint presentation.
<p>Mathias Kulka/Masterfile</p>