5th Grade Classroom
Objective: Students will research 2 inventions using either the Internet, multi-media CD-ROMs, or classroom books. Student groups will design an invention using the various forms found on the Group Invention Activity sheet. Students will design individual inventions and create an explanatory paragraph detailing the necessary information about their invention.
Computers with Internet access or with CD-ROM drive
Microsoft Encarta or other multi-media encyclopedia
Computer software: James Burke narrates Connections: It’s A Mind Game. Discovery Channel
Invention research worksheets
Plain white paper
Group Invention Activity sheet
Individual Invention Activity sheet
Multi-colored construction paper
Extra-credit project sheet
Estimated Time: 190 min (see additional information)
Motivation:Write on the board, “I am a famous invention. Many students make me out of paper. Two
brothers invented me. I allow people to visit friends and relatives all over the world. I come in many sizes, but my shape is usually always the same. I have the arms of a bird. People look up to me. What famous invention am I?
1. Allow students approximately 3 minutes to guess the invention, which is the airplane.
2. Ask students to explain the clues. That is, students make paper airplanes, planes are a mode of
transportation, the Wright Brothers invented the first real plane, illustrate the basic features of a plane,
and that people always look up when they hear a plane flying overhead. Total Time: 2 min.
3. Ask students what they think the lesson will be about today. Many will say that it will focus on
airplanes, a natural assumption, but incorrect. If no one mentions inventions, remind students that
Benjamin Franklin is also remembered as a great inventor and that today and tomorrow the class will be
working on famous inventions. Total time: 2 min.
4. Ask students to retrieve their Ben and Me books and their journals from their desks. Inform students
that they are to take turns reading their journal entries to their groups and answer any questions that
their peers may have. Total time: 8 min.
5. Once the timer rings, ask students to place their journals aside and ask for volunteers to refresh the
class’s memory on what happened in chapter 5 since it was read in small groups. Total time: 2 min.
6. Thank the students for their contribution and have them turn to chapter 6. Read chapter 6 and 7 aloud
as they follow along. Total time: 8 min.
7. When finished, write on the board “Famous Inventions”. Ask the class if they can identify the famous
invention that was mentioned in the chapter. Write Lightning Rod under the header. Inform students
that they will add to the list as the day progresses. Instruct students to read chapter 8 in their small
groups as they did the previous day. Total time: 10 min.
8. When the time is up ask students to take out their journals and answer the question, “Do you think Ben
was right in using Amos to find out if lightning was electricity? Explain your answer.”
Total time: 5 min.
9. Allow students approximately 3 min to share their thoughts with their group when the timer sounds.
10. Have students put their books and journals away. Ask students, “what is an invention.” Discuss how
inventions have changed our lives, some for the better and some for worse. Then have them list as
many inventions as they can think of in 1 minute. Write the names of the inventions on the board. Hand
out the invention research worksheets. Read the directions aloud as they follow along. Explain in your
own words that they will be using the Internet, multi-media software, and books to research 2
inventions of their choice. 1 invention must be something they are familiar with, and the second must
be something they do not know anything about. Make sure that the group(s) that used computers the
previous day use books so that the others can experience the use of the computer(s).
Total time: 15 min.
11. Inform students that they may share information with one another if they have the same inventions, but
that they should try to select different ones for the sake of variety. Teachers will have little success in
this and will probably get 10 reports on airplanes. Good luck.
12. When the timer goes off, return students to their seats and ask students to name some of the inventions
they researched that are not currently on the list on the board. When a student adds an item to the list,
ask the student to provide some of the information that they discovered. Total time: 5 min.
13. State, “raise your hand if you think that you have an invention that would make everyone’s life better?”
Simply say “O.K.” Hand out the 2-foot strip of butcher paper and one copy of the Group Invention
activity sheet to each student group. Read the directions as they follow along. Have students ask
questions for clarification.
14. Inform students that they will have the remainder of the period and some of the period tomorrow to
work on this project. Also inform them that will be presenting to the class on the morrow.
Note: If the teacher runs out of time, explain the project, inform them that they will get 20 minutes to
work on the project tomorrow, and that they should use the remaining time to brainstorm ideas for their
group invention and how they are going to answer the questions.
15. Answer any remaining questions and set them to work. On the board write the assignment as