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.