Lessons that involve designing a new invention or product have cropped up at 5 of the 6 summer schools I’ve worked at. I came across this video the other day that gives me a new lead-in to the topic…
After 44 seconds the video starts to reveal a series of interesting inventions to help with routine/household tasks. The inventions include a plate smashing machine, an automatic thumbs up/down hand, and a bed separator!
First, let the students watch the video and make quick notes on each invention (there are 11 in total).
Get students to decide what they might call each product.
Then get the students to rank the products in order of how useful they are. This can be organised at a pyramid discussion (first alone, then in pairs, then groups) to generate more discussion.
After the students have shared their ideas, encourage them to look at their list again and discuss similarities and differences between the group of items at the top of the list and those at the bottom. Hopefully this will help them establish what makes a good/bad invention, or at least help generate ideas for a creative ‘design your own…) task later in the lesson!
If you have an alternative approach to the video and you need a summary of the inventions in it, here they are:
An automatic signature signing device with rotating paper slips
A machine that fires plates at a door…
An mechanical remote control button presser
A rotating shirt selector
An automatic credit card swiper
A teddy bear grabbing claw (like the ones at funfairs, so not something new)
An mechanical thumbs up/down machine (on loop)
A mechanical photo frame straightener
A toaster button depressor
A mechanical bed separator
A milk dispenser with a conveyor belt leading to the fridge
Let me know what you do with the video, all ideas are welcome!