Introducing Inventions Mini-Lesson

Objective: Students will learn how discoveries differ from inventions as they are introduced to a variety of different kinds of inventions.

Suggested Time: 15 minutes

Reading Level: Upper Elementary

Teacher Background

An invention is something that is devised by human effort and that did not exist before. A discovery on the other hand, is something that MORE

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Print or Project

  1. A Visual Overview: Show the slideshow of photos to your class. Each has a descriptive caption and kid-friendly copy for your students to read. (Please note that there is also more extensive teacher note copy just for you.)
  2. Creative Caption Review: Once you've been through the slideshow for an overview, go back through it again. This time ask students to explain why the captions do (or do not!) work.

Click the thumbnail slides below to see the captions and kid-friendly copy up close.

  1. Continue the Conversation: Ask students what new inventions they've heard about. New computer games and toys might be mentioned, but be sure to point out additional applications. For example, in the medical field there are many inventions—from robotics used in prosthetics to lip-reading computers—that help people move and communicate in more efficient ways.
  2. Write about it: Have students write a paragraph entitled "The World's Best Invention—So Far!" Encourage them to think carefully about their nomination and include reasons to support why they chose that particular invention. As an extension of this activity, students could do more research on the invention they chose—then give a verbal report to the class.

Extension Activities

Reinforcements: These worksheets will be useful as you further develop your teaching unit. The Word Power worksheet will give your students vocabulary practice with key terms from this mini-lesson and the related activity will help reinforce key concepts on inventions.


Word Power Vocabulary
Grade: 4 - 6
Students practice vocabulary relevant to inventions by using each defined word in a sentence.



Invention Process: The Telephone
Grade: 3
Students read about and discuss Alexander Graham Bell and his process of inventing the telephone.



Excerpted from:

Eyewitness: Invention

Discover the fascinating story behind amazing inventions and learn how they have changed the world.

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