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Lesson Plan

Great American Inventors: Using Nonfiction to Learn About Technology Inventions

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)

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


Materials and Technology

Student Interactives






  • One large photograph of Alexander Graham Bell, George Washington Carver, and Stephanie Kwolek

  • Biographies of the Selected Inventors

  • Popsicle sticks labeled with each student's name

  • One hat and three strips of paper labeled with the names of the inventors

  • Three boxes labeled with the names of the inventors

  • Three sets of task buttons

  • Chart paper and markers

  • White board

  • Computers with Internet access

  • PowerPoint software

  • Projection hardware and screen

  • Three large hula hoops of different colors

  • Writing journals

  • A telephone, jar of peanut butter, and bulletproof vest (or pictures of these items)


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Venn Diagram

Grades   K – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Venn Diagram

This interactive tool allows students to create Venn diagrams that contain two or three overlapping circles, enabling them to organize their information logically.


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1. Review the Web Resources for the Selected Inventors. As you are reviewing the websites:

  • Determine if your students will be able to read and comprehend the content as it is presented

  • Familiarize yourself with the organization and layout of the sites to provide guidance to your students as they are working

  • Note any topics of special interest
In addition, many of the sites provide links to other sites about the inventors that you may want to preview as well.

2. Print and enlarge pictures of Alexander Graham Bell, George Washington Carver, and Stephanie Kwolek, and post them on the board before Session 1.

3. Locate and read the recommended Biographies of the Selected Inventors: Alexander Graham Bell, George Washington Carver, and Stephanie Kwolek. (Note: Other biographies on these inventors may be substituted, but it is best to gather at least three to four biographies for each inventor and to ensure that the biographies are at the appropriate reading level for your students.)

4. Write each student's name on a popsicle stick.

5. Have slips of paper with Alexander Graham Bell, George Washington Carver, and Stephanie Kwolek written on them. Place the slips in a hat.

6. Create three sets of task buttons with the following labels:

  • Inspector Collector - This person's job is to collect any materials needed for the group.

  • Inspector of Time - This person is responsible for keeping the group within predetermined time limits.

  • Inspector of Notes - This person is responsible for taking notes for the group.

  • Inspector of Programming - This person is responsible for creating the PowerPoint presentation.

  • Inspector of Editing - This person is responsible for editing all of the written information from the group.

  • Inspector of Design - This person is responsible for adding graphics and a creative design to the PowerPoint presentation.
7. Compile a box of materials for each inventor containing three to four biographies about the inventor, all of the student handouts (see Resources) a complete set of task buttons, and the Web addresses for the inventor. During Session 1, students will be arranged in three groups, with each group receiving a box of materials for their assigned inventor. Have chart paper and markers also available for each group.

8. This lesson requires students to create a PowerPoint presentation. PowerPoint in the Classroom may serve as a useful Web resource for both teachers and students who are unfamiliar with this program. Teaching students how to create a slide show prior to the lesson will save time and allow students to focus more attention on the content of the lesson.

9. Before Session 3, review the Venn Diagram interactive tool and ensure that you have a computer with Internet access hooked up to a projection screen. In addition, gather three large hula hoops and have at least one posted note available for each student.

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