INVENTIONS - America's Best


By Karen Cole & Dorene Johnson

Introduction  - Question  -  Background Individual Roles

Group Process  -  Assessment  Conclusion Teacher Tips

Introduction
 

    What is your favorite invention?  Do you admire an American inventor?  Is there an invention that you think has made a major impact on America?

    What are those inventions?  Who invented them?  How have these inventions impacted our world?  Where did the ideas for these inventions come from?  This web quest will help you answer these questions and more.

    As a team, you will explore American inventors and their inventions.  Each member of your team will research and will become knowledgeable about great American inventions from four points of view.  You will then get together to share your information in the quest to identify the five most important American inventions.


 

The Question 

    The main question you are to answer will be:

    Which five American inventions have made the greatest impact on the American society?


 

Group Process

In the following web quest, you will use the power of teamwork and the abundant resources on the Internet to learn all about American inventions. You will be asked to think about the importance and impact these inventions have had on American society.

  1. Establish individual responsibilities (see individual roles below).
  2. Research and chose the five inventions you believe have had the greatest impact on American society.
  3. Prepare your projects (as explained below) to convince your teammates that your five inventions are the most important American inventions.
  4. Share projects within your group. Discuss and come to a consensus as a group on the five most important American inventions.
  5. Create a multimedia presentation to outline the five most important American inventions.

Your presentations must include:

(click here for worksheet and checklist)

 

Assessment

The assessment for this web quest is based on several components. The components are; Research and Work Time - 20pts, Project - 100pts, Group Project - 30pts, and the Power Point Presentation - 50pts. Click on the links below to print out the checklist.

Historian

Economist

Reporter

Scientist

Presentation Assessment

 

 

Background Information

    An invention is something produced for the first time through the use of imagination or ingenious thinking and experimentation.  A famous quote is "Necessity is the mother of invention" it means that the reason anything gets invented or improved is because of a need.

The processes that inventors follow to invent are:
 

Click here to learn about the process.


 

Individual Roles

  Historian

As the historian, your role is to explore the historical impact that American inventions have had on our society. What was the historical importance of each invention?  What was the need for the invention and how has the invention changed the way we live?

Visit the following links to find the five American inventions you think have made the greatest impact on the American society, then create a timeline, which outlines when the invention was created.  On the timeline you must also include an explanation of why you chose these five inventions.
 
 http://inventors.miningco.com/science/inventors/library/bl/bl12.htm

http://ieee.cincinnati.fuse.net/reiman.html

http://sln2.fi.edu/franklin/inventor/inventor.html

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/telephone/timeline/timeline_text.html

 

 

  Economist

As an economist, your role is to explore the economic impact that American inventions have had on our society.  How did each invention save time or make life easier, which  translates into saved money, for Americans?

Visit the following links to find the five American inventions you think have made the greatest impact on the American society, then create a report that outlines each invention and the economic impact it had/has on Americans.
 

http://inventors.miningco.com/science/inventors/library/bl/bl12.htm

http://www.invent.org/book/book-index.html

http://web.mit.edu/invent/www/archive.html

http://inventors.about.com/science/inventors/library/bl/bl12.htm

 

 

 

  Reporter

As a reporter, your role is to explore the positive impact that American inventions have had on our society.  How did each invention improve society at the time they were invented?

Visit the following links to find the five American inventions you think have most improved American society, then write an article that outlines each invention and the improvement it had on Americans.
 

http://inventors.miningco.com/science/inventors/library/bl/bl12.htm

http://www.invent.org/book/book-index.html

http://web.mit.edu/invent/www/archive.html

http://inventors.about.com/science/inventors/library/bl/bl12.htm

 

 

  Scientist

As a scientist, your role is to explore the scientific impact that American inventions have had on our society.  How did each invention expand American's knowledge at the time they were invented?

Visit the following links to find the five American inventions you think have most expanded knowledge, then write a thesis that outlines each invention and the improvement it had on Americans.
 
http://www.thomasedison.com/

http://inventors.miningco.com/science/inventors/library/bl/bl12.htm 

http://www.inventorsmuseum.com/museum_map.htm

 http://web.mit.edu/invent/www/archive.html

 

 

Conclusion

American inventors have contributed many wonderful inventions that have impacted our nation and the world. Many inventions prove to be only a start for even greater inventions, such as Henry Ford's Model T automobile. Who knows, you may be the next great inventor (don't forget to give this web quest credit for your desire to invent!)

 

Teacher Tips

BEFORE entering the lab to begin this quest, poll students to find out what point of view they would be most interested in exploring.  Give a brief general description of the roles students will take, and have students write down which role they are interested in.  Use the students' lists to place students in-groups, try to place students in the role they chose. Be sure students chose American inventors, many of these web sites are about inventors, not just American inventors. With special education students I recommend the following books, The United States in the 20th Century, and The United States in the 19th Century.