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Lesson Plan

Great American Inventors: Using Nonfiction to Learn About Technology Inventions

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Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three class sessions, plus time for reading biographies and creating presentations
Lesson Author

Andrea Kent

Mobile, Alabama

Skipper Malcolm

Mobile, Alabama


International Literacy Association



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



Students use technology every day, but do they ever stop and wonder about the inventors who made certain technology possible? This lesson encourages students to investigate three American inventors-Alexander Graham Bell, George Washington Carver, and Stephanie Kwolek-through research and readings of their biographies. Reading biographies about famous inventors can bring enthusiasm and a sense of exploration to your classroom. To begin this lesson, students are divided into three research groups, and each group is assigned a different inventor. As students read, gather, and present information about Bell, Carver, and Kwolek, they learn how this trio's inventions changed and shaped America's past and influenced the future of technology. Further, students examine how the inventions directly impact their own lives.

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Venn Diagram: Students can use this interactive to help them compare and contrast Alexander Graham Bell, George Washington Carver, and Stephanie Kwolek.

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Livingston, N., Kurkjian, C., Young, T., & Pringle, L. (2004). Nonfiction as literature: An untapped goldmine. The Reading Teacher, 57(6), 582584.

Based on "Nonfiction as Literature: An Untapped Goldmine," this lesson focuses on the importance of introducing and extending the use of nonfiction text outside the parameters of the science and history classroom. According to the authors of the article, nonfiction text has evolved over the past several years. Writers of nonfiction text have become intriguing with their words, and illustrators/photographers have developed ways to capture the essence of their topics.

The following is a list of key concepts gleaned from the article:

  • Importance of using nonfiction text with creative formats and designs

  • Necessity of incorporating nonfiction text of various reading levels

  • Availability of nonfiction text for all reading levels

  • Effect of nonfiction text on students' curiosity and their future desire to explore other nonfiction text

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