This past week, we completed our inventions & engineering unit. First, we read about many inventions throughout history such as Chester Greenwood’s earmuff invention, which was created as a result of a daily problem. We also read about the invention of chocolate chip cookies, which was created as an accident when Ruth Wakefield tried to make chocolate cookies but did not have the right ingredients. We had a lot of fun researching and discussing how life’s daily problems lead to great problem solving experiences!
My students brought in trash from home to create their inventions. First, they thought of a problem they wanted to solve. They drew up a plan, including the resources they had to create their invention, and wrote more than one possible solution. When they made their final decision on the solution to their problem, they also drew a diagram of all the parts of their invention before they built it.
On Friday, the kids wrote Invention Reports. We had an Inventions Museum and invited some classes to come through our room and look at our inventions on display. They practiced their speaking and listening skills as they explained their inventions, answered questions, and re-glued and taped things that continually kept falling off.
The process required problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making skills. It was hard for some of my students to come up with more than one possible solution to their problem. They really just wanted to make one up and run with it. It turned out to be a great part of the project that required them to think outside of the box and consider all possibilities.
These two points were reinforced to me as I worked through this unit with my kiddos:
1.) My students have hilarious imaginations.
2.) I wish I could trade adult problems with the “problems” my second graders unveiled to me:
Take a look at some of my favorites. I showed my family this weekend. They were so funny!!!!
This is the “Mist-ifier” It is a water purifier. This little kiddo was devastated when he walked in on Friday morning only to find out that the heat from the flashlight had, in fact, not evaporated the water and transported it to the glass jar. He’s currently working on a new and improved version. I will keep you updated.
A toilet cleaner. “For lazy people who don’t want to clean their toilet.”
This one simply melted my heart. I walked away with tears in my eyes. This is the Prayer Machine. It helps remind you to pray each night. “If you can’t remember what to pray for, you press the button, and pull out a Prayer Message that has someone to pray for on it like grandma, the dog, or my brother.”
This is The Thinker. It was invented by a brilliant little boy in my classroom. He could not think of any problem the day before we created our inventions. There was not a single problem I suggested that would work for him. Hence – The Thinker. “It thinks for you when you can’t think of anything.” –Does anyone else out there wish you really could buy one of these?!
This is a fish feeder. This little girl told me she hates to touch the gross fish food when she has to feed her fish each night. With this invention, you shake the food onto the spoon (we practiced with a paperclip) and launch the food into the fish bowl by pressing the other end of the spoon. Pretty clever if I’d say so myself!
Last year, I did an amusement park theme with my inventions unit. The kids created a new theme park ride or roller coaster, or added a new feature to the park with technology. I’m not sure which one I liked better, but we had a lot of fun this week!
I finally bought a freebie Scrappin Doodles license so that I can add freebies for you on my TPT store! Yay! Click the button below to head to my TPT store and download my latest freebie, an April Word Builders pack. There are 5 word builder pages for your students to use. Below the cover is an example of just one of them. I’m going to use this in my word work stations during Daily 5 next week. 🙂 Enjoy!