Invention, Innovation, Inquiry


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This unit will help students in Grades 5 and 6 to explore the process of developing an idea into an invention. Students are asked to invent and construct a working model or prototype of a gadget that will help a small child to do a household task. The culminating event is a “Kids Better Living Home Show” where the young inventors will explain their ideas behind their gadget and give other elementary students an opportunity to try the new inventions.

"Students learned that technology has influenced our way of life." (Susan H., 5th grade teacher, Westerville, OH)

Learning Goals

Students will:

  • Explain and demonstrate how ideas can become inventions by using an engineering design process.
  • Recognize that products are invented to meet specific needs and wants.
  • Describe the general characteristics of famous inventors and their inventions.
  • Document their inventive thinking with sketches and notations, in an Inventor's Journal.


All units contain teacher background information, handouts, transparency masters, and a student packet.

Each unit is designed to integrate mathematics and science with technology and take 8 to 10 days.


Acknowledgment and Disclaimer
"This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0095922.""Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation."