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TITLE: INVENTIONS AUTHOR: MARY PENDELTON GRADE LEVEL/SUBJECT: 7-12, Language Arts, Human Relations, Humanities OVERVIEW: This activity allows the student to exercise his creative faculities while grounding it both concretely and abstractly through creation of an artifact as well as conceiving of its design, uses, application and feasibility. If done in dyads, it may also be used instrumentally for collaborative learning. PURPOSE: This activity is primarily designed to help students understand the relationship between things and words. Students create their own inventions and learn to describe them as well as to create a history for them utilizing standard research format; ie, proposal, hypothesis, plan, outlining, etc. The further purpose is to demonstrate interdisciplinary links between Language Arts and other academic disciplines. OBJECTIVES: Participants will strive to: 1. develop an invention after collaborating in dyads. 2. describe the invention 3. develop a short paper on its uses and applications after developing outline, frames of reference etc. RESOURCES/MATERIALS: Straws (20 per dyad to begin), yarn, tape, rubber bands (in teacher's pocket!), scissors NOTE: This activity usually takes anywhere from two to five days depending on overall class experience with thinking skills as well as the writing process, editing, etc. Activities and Procedures described below can be adjusted or modified in any number of ways according to the maturity levels of participants and other situations alluded to in opening sentence. ACTIVITIES AND PROCEDURES: DAY ONE: 1. Brainstorm a class for the concept invention, hypothesis, application...It's helpful to have one of the students do the notation at the board, allowing the teacher to move around the room. 2. Silly pictures of possible inventions--Move into dyads, have each dyad brainstorm a list of possible uses for whatever it is as well as name it. These instructions should be included on the silly pictures. If collaborative learning is being used, a good skill to emphasize might be communication and active talking with one designated notetaker and the other the picture holder. It should be emphasized this is sink or swim for both members of the dyad. From this point on, both will receive the same grade for both academic and social skills. Monitoring is done by the teacher using either a predetermined point system or written form. I use a time limit to teach deadlines. 3. Processing: a) As a group we compare notes,names, etc. b) Feedback forms are provided and note exchanged with another group...the critiques are filled out, then both groups get together to discuss the feedback forms 4. Return to original dyads - introduce the concepts of intuitive and deductive reasoning 5. Sum up class session by asking each student to contribute one thing they have learned from the days experiences. DAY TWO: 1. Review orally concepts of previous day 2. Pass out both straws and paper..graph paper is really preferable 3. Explain the dyads may approach the task as they wish either designing an inventions on paper first or going to it with the straws and then graphically displaying it...Graphs include name, general description. 4. Two class period may be used for the above. A part of this exercise is simply to have fun, laughter is allowed. For the teacher who prefers the competitive model, a time factor might be introduced with suitable rewards. As my student population is exclusively male, I find they enjoy the exercise and stay on task readily. DAY THREE: INTRODUCTION OF THE WRITING PROCESS 1. Students are free to pick any sort of paper they wish to develop, ie, persuasive (selling a new product), expository, etc. At this point, I introduce an alien element, the composition text and briefly scan types with them. Then we move onto the section entitled writing the research paper and proceed. At this point they are given a three day time limit to develop a rough draft after developing one bibliography card listing themselves as the experts, notecards, informal outlines, general research questions dealing with who, what, when, where, how and why, formal outline, rough draft, etc. 2. After all of the above, we begin editing groups, passing around the rough drafts as well the invention. Feedback forms are provided. 3. Assemble final papers, which will include a title page, a table of contents, paper and bibliography page. TYING IT ALL TOGETHER: 1. Each group presents its invention and paper. Feedback forms are used to assess effectiveness. 2. We usually ask someone to judge the inventions and pick the most effective application. I usually try to develop several categories as I find the judges really take their jobs quite seriously and generally ask each group a number of questions. 3. After we are finished with the judging and awards, we usually have cake and ice cream, asking the judges to join us to celebrate success and to provide closure. GENERAL NOTE: I use collaborative strategies throughout the year and this exercise is generally scheduled well after the ground rules and grading procedures have been established. The pairings are teacher determined and may not be changed. The rewards are often worked out with the facility as part of their pass program. If the participant has met all other criteria for the facility, he may receive two hours pass extension, for example. The confined youngster may be released from kitchen duty or some other chore. This requires staffing and adult teaming. The more substantive the rewards, the better!