Invent, Design and Make

Invent, Design and Make

Invent, Design and Make

Subject area: 
Technology, Social Studies, Expressive Arts

Experiences and Outcomes:
Soc 3 – 02a, Tch 0 – 12a,
Tch 0 – 14a, Tch 3 – 14a,
ExA 3 – 06a

Before you begin ask your class to look through the John Muir graphic novel and read the section Genius John in a Brave New World that describes one of John’s inventions. We know there was a period in John Muir’s life when he

‘began a frenzy of invention... clocks, a giant thermometer, a machine to feed horses and a ‘wake you up bed’… in 1860 he displayed some of his inventions at the Wisconsin State Fair in America where, newspaper reports tell us, people cued around the block to have a turn.’

The aim of this lesson is to research John Muir and other Scotsmen who have invented things, such as John Logie Baird who invented the TV. Following these findings your pupils task will be to generate ideas for a new (or a modified) invention that would help protect the environment. Pupils should draw and design a prototype model showing how their idea works.

Now print the Invent, Design and Make Pupil Activity Worksheet for your class to use to complete this activity.

Explain that because John Muir was interested in the natural world around him, if he was alive today, he would no doubt like to invent something that would help protect the environment such as ‘using pedal power to run the TV’.

Instruct your class to read the information you provide them with about famous Scottish inventors (see below) as inspiration. Then split them into groups to generate ideas of new inventions (or modifications to existing inventions) that would encourage people, or make it easier for them, to look after the natural world, today. They should note down their ideas on their worksheets.

Once they have generated enough ideas they should select one each and draw it and then make a prototype model showing how it would work.

Background/ useful resources

The following web sites will provide additional information for your class.

Education Scotland – Famous Scottish Inventors
Print the information about famous Scottish inventors from the Education Scotland web site and circulate or display the information directly onto a white board.

For an up-to-the-minute source of information on sustainable design and technology follow this link:

Education Scotland: Green technologies and climate change

Reflecting on Learning

Had learners considered:

  • How historically Scotsmen have created some amazing inventions that bring global benefits to many lives today?
  • How inventions that help rather than harm the natural environment are especially important?

Learners can:

  • Name at least three famous Scotsmen and their inventions
  • Draw and create a prototype model of their own (or a modified version of an existing) invention that will help rather than harm our natural environment



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