Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What inventions made the biggest impact to human history? Let your children decide with this critical thinking and writing activity.
Critical Thinking and Writing Activity for Kids - InventionsDisclosure: I am an Amazon associate and this post contains affiliate links. For full disclosure, please click here and thank you for supporting my blog!

Timeline of Inventions for Kids

Timeline of Inventions and Inventors My daughter is not a big fan of non-fiction outside of National Geographics trivia books, so I was excited when she picked up An Illustrated Timeline of Inventions and Inventors to take home from the library. This book by Kremena Spengler illustrated by Rick Morgan is a great concise visual on the history of inventions from prehistoric times to 21st century. It’s amazing to flip through the pages and appreciate what human civilization achieved in its rise from fire (the first in the book) to iPads (the last of featured inventions). This book could launch a whole homeschool curriculum on inventions, but for our after school family I decided to use it as a launching pad for a couple of activities related to inventions.

Which Inventions Are Most Important?

As a critical activity for this book, I made a very simple printable and asked my 8 year old to look through the book and pick 12 most important inventions from her point of view. I said that I would do the same. She took her task very seriously and created her own table giving inventions a rating and also writing (without me asking to) why she put that particular “candidate” on her list. She also decided to pick one invention from each of the pages of the book, so her choices were sometimes a little “unexpected”. I really enjoyed listening to her thought process and also noted to myself that there are some things in the book (i.e. telegraph) that Smarty simply cannot appreciate, since they sort of faded before she was born.

What Would Be on Your List?

Smarty worked on her list for more than an hour – I was impressed to observe how much her “writing endurance” increased lately. Of course the number of spelling errors went up towards the end, but she wouldn’t rest until she handed me her list. She couldn’t decide between a couple on her list, so she asked for a “bonus” invention. Then we compared our choices
Smarty Mama
1. Fire
1. Fire
2. Compass
2. Paper
3. Vaccines
3. Wheel
4. Printing Press
4. Metallurgy
5. Canning
5. Printing Press
6. Combustion Engine
6. Steam Engine
7. First Car
7. Electric Motor
8. Pasteurization
8. Vaccines
9. Refrigerator
9. Light bulb
10. Traffic Signal
10. Car/Combustion Engine
11. Lego
11. Telephone
12. Digital Camera
12. Computer
13. iPad
13. Writing (my late bonus add)

What’s Next?

I have a few more ideas for activities related to inventions and inventors – stay tuned and follow my Pinterest board For Future Engineers.
Follow Natalie Planet Smarty Pants's board For future engineers on Pinterest.

Your Turn

What inventions would you put on your list?


Phyllis said...

What a great idea! I love the lists...she did a great job in prioritizing! I like the fact that you did one, too. This might be a great family activity for us to do.

Ticia said...

Interesting lists you both came up with.

We gave my father in law a game called "Timelines: Inventions" for his birthday and the whole goal is to put together the events on the timeline in the right order. We had a lot of fun arguing out when things happened, and the ancient history ones were especially amusing to argue about.

min said...

K would love this! What a great idea to rate and list them! I had to do a similar activity in my organizational psychology class and it was a great way to get thinking!

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

Great list! I would add washing machines!

Dishwashers and windshield wipers are further down the list for me, but they were both invented by women. :)

jeannine said...

Totally love this! Awesome history, science and critical thinking woven together in one activity.

Ticia, Now I want to look up that timeline inventions game!

Jess Benoit said...

Such a great & simply way to get more out of a book! Thanks for linking up with us at the Geeky Educational Link Up!

Anne at Left Brain Craft Brain said...

Such a great idea! It's interesting to see the difference in importance between the two of you.

Carrie said...

Oh, how interesting!! Such a neat activity and book. Thanks for sharing at Sharing Saturday this week!

Anna said...

This is such a great activity and one we should try at our house! I love how she took it so seriously. Thanks so much for sharing this - I'm featuring it tomorrow. Also, I don't know how, but apparently I've never signed up for your email updates. I can't figure out how - can you direct me to the place to do it?

Rachael DeBruin said...

Really great science idea!! I think I'd like to do a project like this myself. So many products I don't really know the history of..
Thanks so much for linking up at Inspired By Me Mondays, and hope you join us again this week!
Rachael @ http://www.parentingandhomeschoolinginfaith.com