Your third-grade students can either conduct research or design innovative projects based on simple machines, famous inventions or their own novel ideas. Duke University's Office of Licensing and Ventures explains that an invention is a completely new or an improved "method, device, process...or tangible material" that serves a purpose. Students should be directed into projects that are appropriate for their age group and their expected level of knowledge.
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According to the New York City Department of Education and Saskatchewan's Department of Education, simple machines are a part of the third-grade science curriculum. Simple machines incorporate inclined planes, such as a loading ramp or an escalator; pulleys, such as what operates an elevator or clothesline; levers, such as the fulcrum of a stapler or teeter totter; and a wheel and axle, such as the components of a windmill or helicopter. After teaching the class about these principles, ask students to pick one type of simple machine. Challenge them to design an invention, whether a gadget, machine, methodology or advancement, that incorporates a lever, pulley, inclined plane or wheel and axle.
Tell your students to invent something that they have never encountered before. Ask them to think about new innovations that could help them in daily life, at school, home or in the playground. Education Place has several ideas that can help students get started. Some of its ideas include wrapping paper that does not require tape, a completely new board game, and a wallet that organises bills by denomination for the visually impaired.
Students can complete a research project, such as a report or poster board, on a famous invention. For example, if a child chooses Braille as her project topic, she should provide information on Louis Braille, the inventor, advancements that have been made, who uses the invention today and used it in the past, and a description of the invention itself. Alternatively, students could research the history of famous inventions and create a time line that includes relevant images and text captions for each innovation.
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