Students are well aware of certain
objects in their lives such as bicycles, zippers, roller skates, and
elevators. They cannot even imagine a world without them and will be
amazed to learn these items have not been with us for very long. They
were invented, just like most objects we use today.
Every day, humans invent things when
they find a need. Sometimes that need is funny; roller skates for
instance. In 1760, Joseph Merlin from Belgium was invited to a costume
ball. He wanted to play his violin as he rolled around so he put 2
wheels on his shoes and entered the party. Unfortunately, he didn't know
how to stop and smashed into a glass mirror. Roller skates were born!
It was only in 1893 that the zipper
was created by Whitcomb Judson, who was tired of buttons. It didn't work
very well because it always seemed to open up, but it was a beginning.
In 1817, Baron Sauerbronn invented
the "dandy horse" which had 2 wheels and a steering device but
no pedals. The pedals were not added until 1855; and by 1890, tires,
brakes, and handle bars made the bicycle complete.
Elevators were first conceived by
King Louis XV in France in 1743. But it wasn't until 1854 that Elisha
Otis made an elevator a practical machine.
- There are many other objects that
have interesting histories. After relating the stories above, emphasize
that this technological world has evolved through time. Humans, working
together, have invented a technological world that is still evolving.
Your students are part of the evolution.
- Use the worksheet to get students
to think about how things were invented. You do not need to know how
they were invented, but just so students start the inquiry process
- Have students draw a "new"
invention. Make sure you have them start thinking, like, a robot
that cleans your room or a garbage can that eats garbage. Remind
them to invent things that might be useful in their household, or
maybe just an easier way to make a item work. Roller blades with
automatic holders, so you never fall, would be nice!