Lesson Two: Invention Predictions
I love this lesson! Students look at real photographs of Edison's and Ford's inventions and innovations. They have to first predict what Edison's inventions are and then they have to try to put Ford's cars into the order in which they were made.
After this activity, students should be able to:
- Make inferences and predictions about a primary source, using clues from the document to support their thinking.
A critical element in an inquiry-based learning classroom is helping students learn how to effectively access and analyze primary and secondary sources. This activity serves two purposes:
- It provides students with some background about Thomas Edison and Henry Ford's inventions and innovations while engaging them in inquiry and;
- It teaches students how to make predictions about primary source photographs using the details in the pictures to support their thinking.
You should already have made the copies of the invention photographs from the Edison Ford Inventions PowerPoint (04EdisonFordInventions.ppt) when you prepared for teaching the unit. If you haven't done so yet, see this post for the details. Make copies of the Invention Prediction worksheet (05InventionsPredictions.pdf), one for each group. You will also want to print the notes in the PowerPoint that tells about each invention.
Part One: Thomas Edison's Inventions
I divided this lesson into two sessions. In the first session, we only made predictions about Thomas Edison's Inventions. I started by sharing some of the examples of inventions and innovations students found at home.
I then projected the first Thomas Edison invention in the Edison Ford Inventions PowerPoint (04EdisonFordInventions.ppt) and had the Invention Prediction worksheet (05InventionsPredictions.pdf) copied onto my Smartboard so that I could write in it.
After everyone finished, I projected the Edison Ford Inventions PowerPoint (04EdisonFordInventions.ppt) and went over each invention one by one. I had each group share their predictions and I asked some to share their thinking. What in the photo made them think that? Then I revealed what the invention actually is, using the notes in the Powerpoint. A note about the notes. The notes are pretty extensive. I highlighted only what I thought was most important and interesting for my 4th grade students to know. I did not read the entire notes section to my class.
My students LOVED doing this. So much that some groups wanted to keep doing it even when it was time to take a recess break. I was so impressed with the ideas that they came up with. All of their predictions were rooted in evidence from the picture as well as their background knowledge. My 4th graders definitely worked best in pairs so I made enough copies of the photos to support that grouping.