Begin with the following question: “If you had to pick one invention as your personal favorite, which would you select and why?” Students will be given several minutes to contemplate and then write their response. A period of sharing and discussion will follow; hopefully creating heightened interest.
Activity two sets the stage for research. Begin by using the overhead to present students with a list of inventions representing a very diverse group of Americans. After discussing this diversity, introduce the research project on African American Inventors, establish student groups, and distribute the student guide (each group will be responsible for researching 2-3 specific African American inventors but may extend to others if time permits). Allow remaining time for groups to meet in order to formulate some questions that they would like to find answers to. Provide guidance as needed. A list of African American inventors can be found at the end of this lesson plan.
Two class periods in the computer lab for the research phase of this assignment are needed. During this time, students will gather data appropriate to their questions as well as other interesting information.
Sites: Information about Famous African Inventors can be found at the following sites:
http://web.mit.edu/invent/www/archive.html http://www.uwm.edu/StudentOrg/NSBE/bie.html http://www.si.edu/lemelson/centerpieces/ilives/index.html http://www.lib.lsu.edu/lib/chem/display/faces.html http://www.lib.lsu.edu/lib/chem/display/women.html http://library.advanced.org/10320/Curtitle.htm
Students meet back in the classroom to share their findings with their group and discuss how they will present their information to the class. (board display, paper, web, power point presentation) Time is then spent working up the presentation.
Students share their final product with the class.
The lesson culminates in a writing assignment. Students will select one invention and develop a quality essay about how life would be different without that particular invention.
A unit to provide understanding of economic practices and stages of economic development would be beneficial prior to this lesson. Students will use this knowledge base as they ponder inventions and their impact on society. Before this lesson computer lab time, the student guide sheet, and appropriate overhead transparencies should be arranged or created. Appropriate tools needed for student presentations should also be secured.