The Mother of All
/adapted by Ron
In 1899, the commissioner of the
U.S. Office of Patents said, “Everything
that can be invented has been invented.” If that were
true then many of the inventions we enjoy today would never
Think about it! If you look
around, you’ll find that your life has been much easier because
of some important inventions!
Many inventions are often the
result of a need, while others happen accidentally. Of course,
common and popular inventions are modified because like the
saying goes, there is always room for improvement. With changes
in technology, materials, knowledge and resources available some
inventions can definitely be improved to make life even easier.
So, what inventions are due for
some changes and how will the changes you make impact our lives
for the better, now and in the future?
You will take an already invented
item and improve it.
You will interview people and
observe how the invention is being used to make it better and
fit the psychological, physical and environmental needs of
people in the 21st century!
You will present your invention
at an invention exhibition and persuade people that you have the
leading to a Product that responds to the Task
You will be working
in cooperation with your teammates throughout the production
process. You will have to learn a lot about your invention
choice to be able to talk about it and its components.
Click on the links
below to find out what you have to do in each phase.
First, you will
individually look at the following list of inventions and
choose the one invention you would like to improve. You will
have to defend your choice to your teammates so think about
your arguments for your choice, think about how this
invention has made a contribution or helped mankind the
Jot down your ideas in your
Log Book in box A.
invention choices are: pencil, inline skates, alarm clock,
2. Next, in
your team (4 members). Each student shares their choice and
explanations for their choice. Ask your teammates questions or for
Then, as a team
you will have to agree on the one invention you will improve and
present to the class.
Discuss, in your
team, what you already know about the final invention your team
chose. Think about how it is used, what are the advantages and
disadvantages of the invention? Write your ideas in your
Book in box B.
journal entry after you’ve
observed how you use the invention your team chose. Write about
how it makes your life difficult or easier. Write about how the
invention can be improved. Use the
Inventor Journal 1 to
write your text.
invention by viewing the sites listed in the resources
section. Each member of
your team will view at least one site, take notes about what is
interesting and useful for your project, and report back to the
Discuss your findings with your team. Add the information in
Log Book in box C.
Here are some sites that contain
information about your invention.
All about pencils:
All about inline skates:
All about alarm clocks:
All about the umbrella:
All about the refrigerator:
Next, you will
gather information about how to improve your invention choice
from people around you. In your team, decide which two people
will conduct the interviews and which two will be observers. If
you are conducting the interviews you will choose two or three
people and ask them how they feel about the invention you are
trying to improve. Ask them what they think needs improvement
and why, what things should not change, etc. Add the information
Inventor’s Log Book in box D.
You will go to the following site to learn about how to
conduct a proper interview.
If you are observing,
you will observe your surroundings at home, school, neighbourhood,
etc. to collect information about how your chosen invention can
improve. (example What is it used for? Is it miss-used and why? What
isn’t it able to do? )Add the information in your
Inventor’s Log Book
in box D. Discuss your findings with your team.
Finally, decide if
your team would like to produce either a museum/science display
or a poster presentation. Since you will present your improved
invention at an invention fair, you need to persuade people that
you have the best idea. Use persuasive language like, it’s the
best, it’s better than, it’s the fastest, etc. Think about what
makes it new, better, interesting, helpful, environmentally
friendly, etc. You should use the notes you gathered in your
In your group,
create a storyboard to plan your project. Your teacher will give
you specific instructions.
Create your media text (for your display or poster) respecting the
decisions your team made during preparation. Take time to discuss
the elements of your chosen media – images, text, slogan, …
Make your text interesting and effective by including a sketch of
your improved invention, testimonials from people who use it, etc.,
according to your media type. Click on this site to see a sample
sketch of an invention:
Review and edit
your text and put the final touches to your presentation.
Prepare to present
your project to the class. Your teacher will explain what the
procedure will be.
While you listen to
the presentations make sure to take motes on your
Reflect on your
work by using the Self Evaluation sheet found at the last page
Inventor’s Log Book.
seen how learning about an invention, observation and asking people
how they feel about inventions can definitely improve the inventions
and make them more functional. So keep observing, carry an inventors
log and jot down ideas and maybe you’ll be the next big inventor!
Write a final journal entry 2
With a new team of members from different teams, discuss some
inventions that would improve the environment.
Take notes (choose a secretary) and then share with the class.
C1 - Interacts orally in English
C3 – writes and produces text