Inventions: Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day (LS-GR-643)

The human mind never rests. It imagines, tests and creates. There have been countless human inventions throughout history, products of dedication, hard work and patience; when it comes to inventions, trial and error is the word. After all, you know what they say: Rome wasn’t built in a day!

Context

This learning scenario developed by Marianthi Tsepeli is a cross-curricular scenario intended for students in the 6th grade of Primary School (approximately 12 years of age), but it can be implemented by older students as well if adapted accordingly. It encompasses various subjects (IT, Technology, English as a Second Language), further aiming to promote digital and informational literacy, 21st-century skills and entrepreneurship.

The principal aim of the scenario is for students to study the evolution of popular inventions, namely the mobile phone and the computer, to discover what makes an invention a success and in teams, design their own products and advertise them.

Implementation

“What drives people to invent things?”

“What makes an invention a success or a flop?”

“If you had the opportunity, what new product would you create?”

These three questions serve as the premise for this learning scenario. With EFL as a vehicle, the scenario acquaints students with the Europeana and Historiana platforms and the wealth of materials they contain, thus cultivating their digital and informational literacy skills, while simultaneously offering a multicultural approach to learning. Inventions are parts of the tangible cultural heritage of Europe, and this scenario aims to foster a critical approach and raise questions on what makes an invention a success.

Furthermore, students are asked to go on a webquest (see Worksheet 1) to find relevant information and assess its relevance to the topic assigned (i.e. the evolution of computer technology), using web tools both in a guided and a creative way in order to create timeline infographics.

Inspired and guided by the 4Cs of 21st-century skills, students work collaboratively to invent a product, thus honing their creative and cooperative skills, as well as their negotiation and persuasion skills.

Students working on their timelines and searching for pictures on Europeana (photos by Marianthi Tsepeli, CC BY-SA)

Conclusion

From the implementation of the scenario, it became clear that students were eager to participate and delve into the experience. They welcomed the use of the Europeana and Historiana platforms, as they felt it was a departure from conventional search engines. They also grasped the issues concerning copyright very quickly. In the final evaluation of the scenario and while completing their exit slips, the majority of students stated that they felt it was an out-of-the-box experience, they took pride in themselves for being able to navigate ‘grown-up’ sites like Europeana and Historiana, and they highlighted that they would like to implement a similar scenario in the future.

Students working on their timelines (photos by Marianthi Tsepeli, CC BY-SA)

Student Output

Padlet link to the material produced.

Would you like to know more about this learning scenario? You can download it below:

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Public Domain Mark 1.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Järnvägsmuseet.

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