The Inventions activity set uses the story of the invention of Velcro® by George de Mestral to explore the process of invention and what it takes to be a successful inventor.
The anchor book, How Things Get Invented, is available at two reading levels, grades 2-3 and grades 4-5. It tells how George de Mestral, a Swiss inventor, came up with the idea for Velcro® after coming back from the woods and finding his clothing, and his dog’s hair, all full of burrs. Being curious, he examined the burrs under a microscope, and saw the tiny hooks that held onto things so tightly.
From that observation, he got an idea and then spent years perfecting the techniques of producing his invention. In spite of people laughing at his idea, he kept on, built a factory, and of course today it’s hard to imagine getting along without Velcro®! Students can relate to this story since they all use Velcro®, and the familiar elements of the dog and the burrs are charming.
Two Reading Levels
The anchor book is available for download in PDF, PowerPoint®, Classroom Suite®, Clicker 5®, and My Own Bookshelf®, at both reading levels. The Clicker 5 grade 4-5 version has some “Tell Me More” pop-ups that explore further. These include a discussion of burdock, the plant the burrs came from, the science of biomimicry, which applies to this type of invention, and a simple discussion on how a patent works.
There are also comprehension tests and a Cloze Pro® activity. The tests come in formats for Classroom Suite, Clicker 5, and Test Me Score Me®, and a printable version of the test in Microsoft Word® format to use with both the PDF and PowerPoint versions. The Word format tests could be completed onscreen, saved, and then printed out as an alternative to using them entirely off-computer.
The final piece of the Inventions activity set are writing activities in both Classroom Suite and Clicker 5 format, entitled Could I Be An Inventor?
In doing the anchor book, I noticed three traits that helped George de Mestral become a successful inventor. These were curiosity, imagination, and perseverance. It occurred to me that most children have these traits, and that it would be a good exercise for them to realize that these traits give them great potential.
The writing activities ask the students questions that demonstrate that they have each trait, and then ask them to write about one time when they used each trait. I think students will have fun with this! The writing books leave them with the possibility that they might invent something someday.
Notes On Downloads for Clicker 5, Classroom Suite, and Dynavox
Special note for Clicker 5: The Clicker 5 zip files expand into a folder that contains an integrated study unit. At each reading level, there is a menu grid linking to the anchor book, the test, and the writing activity. When installed properly into the Clicker 5 shared files, students will see the folder name in Clicker Explorer, click to open it, and the menu grid will launch.
This means that to you MUST copy and paste, or drag, the entire unit folder into the Clicker 5 Shared files folder, rather than making a new folder there and moving files into it. If you move the files out of the folder, the links will break. You can still open each grid set and use it separately, however. Also, if the unit folder is located outside the Clicker 5 Shared files, it will not show up in Clicker Explorer. In this case, a student would navigate to the folder, open it, and open start.clkx. For more on integrated study units like these, and a PDF with detailed installation instructions, click here.
Special note for Classroom Suite: All the inventions files were exported into a single zip file. Run Classroom Suite and import this file into Activities. The zip file includes the anchor book at both reading levels, the test, and writing activities in 24 and 36 point. The IntelliKeys overlays are attached.
Special note for Dynavox: There is a Dynavox package version of the overlays needed for controlling the Classroom Suite version of Inventions. The overlay for the anchor book works for both reading levels, and the one for the writing activity works for both font sizes. There is also one overlay for the test, making three different package files in all.
Applications needed: IntelliTools Classroom Suite, Clicker 5, Cloze Pro, My Own Bookshelf, Test Me Score Me, PowerPoint, Acrobat Reader, Microsoft Word
Subject area: History, Science, Reading, Writing.
Level: Grades 2-3, Grades 4-5.
Inventions4-5.pdf (2.6 MB) How Things Get Invented book (grades 4-5) to print or read on the computer. Acrobat Reader.
Inventions2-3.pdf (2.6 MB) How Things Get Invented book (grades 2-3) to print or read on the computer. Acrobat Reader.
InventionsTest.doc (3.8 MB) Printable comprehension test on How Things Get Invented book to print or work and save on the computer. Picture plus related text question and four choices per page. Microsoft® Word.
InventionsClick4-5.zip (7.4 MB) Inventions study unit in Clicker 5. Includes How Things Get Invented book (grades 4-5), 4 choice comprehension test, and Could I Be An Inventor? writing activity. For details on integrated study units, click here.
InventionsClick2-3.zip (7.2 MB) Inventions study unit in Clicker 5. Includes How Things Get Invented book (grades 2-3), 4 choice comprehension test, and Could I Be An Inventor? writing activity. For details on integrated study units, click here.
inventionsCloze.clz (3.4 KB) Tests comprehension by using the text from How Things Get Invented 2-3 in a Cloze Pro activity.
InventionsSuite.zip (15.9 MB) Inventions activity set in Classroom Suite v.3 or later. Includes How Things Get Invented book (grades 4-5), How Things Get Invented book (grades 2-3), 4 choice comprehension test, Could I Be An Inventor? writing (24 point), and Could I Be An Inventor? writing (36 point) as a single zip file to install. Custom IntelliKeys overlays attached.
InventionsBook.dpkg (323.2 KB) How Things Get Invented book overlay saved as a Dynavox package file.
InventionsWriting.dpkg (1.8 MB) Could I Be An Inventor? writing activity overlay saved as a Dynavox package file.
4ChoiceTestABS.dpkg (796.8 KB) How Things Get Invented test overlay saved as a Dynavox package file.
Inventions4-5.ppt.zip (3.0 MB) How Things Get Invented book (grades 4-5) saved as a .ppt file. PowerPoint 2003 or later.
Inventions2-3.ppt.zip 3.0 MB) How Things Get Invented book (grades 2-3) saved as a .ppt file. PowerPoint 2003 or later.
Inventions4-5Soft.zip (3.8 MB) Folder with How Things Get Invented book (grades 4-5) to import into My Own Bookshelf.
inventions2-3Soft.zip (3.4 MB) Folder with How Things Get Invented book (grades 2-3) to import into My Own Bookshelf.
InventionsSoftTest.zip (3.2 MB) Test on How Things Get Invented story with text answers. Requires Test Me Score Me.
InventionsVocab.doc (37.5 KB) List of vocabulary words and definitions from How Things Get Invented in Word format. These same words and definitions are on the abs vocabulary pop-up in the Clicker 5 version.