How do I get my class and myself ready? This lesson plan should give you everything you need to be prepared for the material.
Lesson Plan Objective(s)
Students will identify the six basic simple machines.
Students will use literature and poetry to understand how simple machines and inventions created from them have made our lives easier.
The Next Generation Science Standards suggest that children in grades 3-8 should have multiple opportunities to engage in design challenges that require an application of scientific principles. It is essential that students begin with a basic understanding of the scientific principles involved and plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered for additional tests to improve the design. Set the stage for learning using poetry and literature to engage students in the inquiry process. They will then have the background information they need to design and test a model for a new invention. These activities culminate in a design challenge that allows students to demonstrate and share their learning.
Recommended Reading & References
- My Great Invention handout (PDF download)
- Reference materials
Next Generation Science Standards
MS-ETS1 Engineering Design
3-5-ETS1 Engineering Design
Common Core Reading: Informational Text, Literature, Poetry
Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.
Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
How do I present the material? Here is the recommended approach, content and timing for presenting the materials.
Introduce the lesson with the Kid President YouTube video, How to be an Inventor. This is a great springboard for learning and sets the stage nicely for the invention challenge to follow.
Next, read the poem, Inventions to Mention aloud to the students. After reading the poem ask them to identify each of the inventions in the poem. Review the six simple machines and explain that some inventions include one or more simple machines. Explain that many inventions were discovered in an attempt to solve a problem or make life easier. Using the examples from the poem, reinforce this idea by engaging students in a discussion about how each of the inventions improved life.
Next, read the book Girls Think of Everything by Catherine Thimmesh. Read the book in segments to give the students an opportunity to guess each invention. For example, when reading the section about the chocolate chip cookie, use the words “this new idea” instead of the words “chocolate chip cookie.” Provide time to discuss each invention and the way each has impacted our lives.
Let students work in small groups to explore one inventor and the problem the invention solved. Provide a variety of print and online resources for students to use and instruct them to cite their sources. When the students have finished, take time to let each group share their findings with the rest of the class.
- What inventions do you think are the most important?
- Which inventors do you think had the greatest challenges to overcome?
- What obstacles or problems do you face that a new invention might solve?
Activities (group or individual)
Engage students in a brainstorming session about some products that could be improved. Explain that they will invent something that will make life easier or serve a particular purpose. Remind them that they will need to include at least one simple machine in their invention. Provide the graphic organizer (PDF handout) for students to use to organize their thoughts.
Did my students achieve the lesson objective?
Activities (group or individual)
If time permits, encourage students to create a model of their invention using common items. Explain that models are not always completely functional. Sometimes, models are an effective way to communicate an idea.
Students may create an advertisement about their new invention. Remind them that good advertisements include the features and benefits to the consumer. Who would need this invention? How would they "sell" their invention?
You may also ask students to write a paragraph describing their new invention. Remind students that their paragraph should include the name of the invention, its purpose, what it looks like, and why their invention is important.
Helpful Tips and Tricks
Download and print the parent letter (in the Resources section) to help reinforce family engagement.
Lesson Plan Downloads