Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Inventor's Secret Teach-a-long: Invention Predictions Part 2

Invention Predictions:  Ford's Cars

"I have a challenge question for you! A golden ticket goes to the first person who raises a hand with the correct answer! Ready? What is the difference between an innovation and an invention?" 

That is how I started the session today. In Part One of the Invention Predictions lesson, my students had examined Thomas Edison inventions. Today, I wanted to prepare them to make some predictions about Henry Ford's car models. My goal was to quickly get their attention by offering a reward (a golden ticket) to whomever knew the answer to my question, and to have our conversation start moving into the concept of innovations. By offering a reward, I was sending the message to my students that this information is important. (What we reward or measure communicates what we value)

One of my students quickly shot up her hand and presented a precise, accurate definition. Most importantly, she emphasized that innovations made something previously invented better than before. 

Introduction:  Phone Innovations

I then invited students to join me on the floor in a circle and explained that I had some innovations of an invention that is near and dear to them, the phone. I randomly placed ten photographs of phone innovations, from the first phone to the smart phone in the center of the circle. (Note: These phone photographs are not included in the Inventor's Secret unit, but you can download them free here)

I said to my students, "Your job is to try to put these in the order in which they were made. Look carefully at the photographs. Which do you think came before the others?"

One student chose the first phone and I had him move it to the far left so that the photos would be arranged horizontally in a timeline fashion. 

I asked the student to explain why he chose that one; what in the photo provided clues? I then asked, "Which phone do you think came next? Which one made this one better?"

A student chose this candlestick phone and I asked her, "How did that phone improve the last one? What made it better?" She pointed out the earpiece, the mouthpiece, and the "candlestick" which made the phone easier to hold and use.

I continued this way until we had a phone timeline created. As we worked through the photos, other students were excited to add their ideas to other student's thinking, using details from the photographs.

Henry Ford's Cars

Then, I introduced Henry Ford's cars. Oh, first, another golden ticket opportunity! I asked, "Yesterday we learned about Thomas Edison's inventions. Who remembers the other inventor we are going to be reading about?" Of course, someone remembered Henry Ford. I said, "Edison was considered an inventor, Ford was an innovator of cars."

At this point, students had a good understanding of innovations as well as their task. They worked in their small groups to put the photographs of Ford's cars in order. I was very impressed with their focus and how well they used the details in the photos to support their thinking. As they examined the photos, I observed them making changes as they compared the cars. The conversation was always around the features that they thought made each model better than before.  

 Self Checking Their Predictions

In the lesson, it suggests that you end the lesson by going over Ford's cars with the class on the PowerPoint. I thought about that and decided it was going to be difficult for students to hold the order in which they placed the cars in their head in order to check if they were correct. I wanted instead, to have a quick self check for students. So I printed a copy of the slides handouts, 9 slides per page. I wrote the number in which they were created below the car model image. When the groups were satisfied with their order, they used this answer key to check their work.

Join the Teach-a-long for the unit:  

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