Implementation of “Inventions and Discoveries” (SOI-MT-394)

Author: Ivana Busuttil, Primary Teacher

School/Organization: SGPC Paola Primary School, Malta

Teaching children about the importance of inventions and inventors is crucial for several reasons. First, it helps them understand how the world around them has been shaped by human innovation and creativity, making lives easier and more comfortable. Another reason for choosing this learning scenario was the fact that such lessons inspire children to be innovative and creative. Learning about the challenges that inventors faced and overcame can also help children develop problem-solving skills and a can-do attitude. Finally, by recognising the importance of these subjects, such as math, science and engineering; children may be more likely to pursue STEM fields and careers, which are increasingly important in our modern economy.

Subject: English and Science in State Primary School in Malta

The class:

This activity was held during an English lesson covering the topic of ‘Writing a short Biography through Research’. As an addition to the lesson and as part of the Science topic ‘Electricity’ the children created their own inventions. This was done with a year 6 class of 10 to 11-year-old students attending Paola Primary. The class consisted of 15 students grouped in groups of 4. Through the initial phase of the session, it was noted that the children were quite knowledgeable about inventors and inventions and eagerly shared what they knew with their peers. 

Collaborative Exploration:

Each group explored different inventions and discoveries from the Europeana digital archive. Throughout the discussion and research stage, they actively participated in group work and asked insightful questions. The students used these sources to answer questions, share their findings, and discuss the impact of these inventions on society. The collaborative learning environment allowed the students to develop critical thinking skills and a deeper appreciation for the role of innovation in shaping our lives.

Student-Led Learning Through Inquiry-Based Approaches:

This learning scenario places a strong emphasis on student-led learning through inquiry-based approaches. During the initial part of the lesson, we used Mentimeter to engage in a group discussion about the greatest inventions of all time. The use of Mentimeter was important to encourage all students to participate and share their ideas in a safe and inclusive environment. Children worked individually to provide their input and see their responses on the shared screen in real-time, sparking conversations and further questions among the group. This activity allowed students to build upon their existing knowledge, while also learning from their peers and expanding their understanding of the history of innovation.

Students using Mentimeter to submit their responses.

The Research Process:

The children were asked to search and create a short point-form biography about one inventor from a set of given options. Through this approach, students are empowered to take charge of their own learning, develop critical thinking skills and collaborate to achieve a common goal.  They also gained knowledge of different inventors and learned about their achievements, which helped them to broaden their understanding of innovation and its impact on society. This process also helped children develop their research and writing skills, as they were required to condense information into a concise and understandable format. The children were enthusiastic about their work and shared their findings with the rest of the class, which further deepened their understanding of inventions and the role of inventors in shaping our world.

Children presenting their findings in class.

Hands-On Creation: Building Robots 

As the children were highly engaged in the topic, I decided to further implement this learning scenario and allow them to create their own invention – a scribble robot. They used simple materials such as a cup, markers, and a small motor to create a robot that could draw lines and shapes. The children had to design and construct their own robot, testing and adjusting it until it worked correctly. While some groups struggled with getting their robots to work, students were encouraged to persevere and not give up, just as many inventors did with their own inventions. This not only helped them develop problem-solving skills but also taught them the value of persistence in the face of challenges.

Students working on their own Scribble Robot and their results.

Main Learning Outcomes:

  • Build critical thinking and research skills through the exploration of primary sources and the analysis of information.
  • Develop communication and collaboration skills through group work and sharing of information.
  • Foster creativity and innovation through the design and construction of a small invention.
  • Build resilience and perseverance by never giving up on challenges encountered during the learning process.


  • Develop research skills by conducting independent research on a chosen inventor and writing a short point biography.
  • Practice writing skills by communicating research findings in a clear and concise manner.
  • Develop critical thinking skills by analysing and evaluating the impact of inventions and discoveries on society.


  • Understand the basic principles of electricity, including circuits, conductors, and insulators.
  • Apply knowledge of electricity to design and build simple circuits.


One way to improve the Innovation and Discoveries learning scenario could be to incorporate more interactive and hands-on activities that engage students in the creative process. For example, students could be challenged to design and build their own prototype inventions using simple materials. Another suggestion would be to encourage more cross-curricular connections, such as exploring the science behind some of the inventions or using English language arts skills to write more in-depth biographies of the inventors. Additionally, integrating more technology and multimedia resources, such as PowerPoint, Workspace and Padlet; could enhance the learning experience and make it more engaging for students.

Personal Benefits of Teaching with Europeana Resources:

I found that the learning scenario ‘Innovation and Discoveries’ was a fantastic resource to use in my teaching. It allowed me to incorporate digital heritage resources into my lessons, which made learning more engaging and interactive for my students. The lesson was structured in a way that encouraged student-led learning through inquiry-based approaches, which allowed my students to develop their critical thinking and collaboration skills. Additionally, the incorporation of a hands-on activity where students created their own inventions added an extra layer of fun and creativity to the lesson. Overall, this learning scenario was a valuable tool for me as a teacher and I look forward to using more Europeana resources in the future.

Advice for Educators Using Europeana:

Europeana resources are an invaluable tool for teachers, providing access to a wealth of digital heritage content that can be used to support and enhance classroom learning. However, it is important for educators to recognize that these resources should not be used as an additional workload, but rather as a means of reducing it. Taking the time to explore and familiarize oneself with the Europeana platform is crucial to effectively navigate and utilize the available resources. By incorporating Europeana resources into existing lesson plans, teachers can enhance their teaching, while also helping students to better understand the concepts being taught. By doing so, educators can create a more engaging and effective learning environment, while also making their workload more manageable.

Other Learning Scenarios to Consider:

In addition, Europeana has many other resources that can be used when implementing this particular learning scenario, such as videos, images, and interactive tools that can further engage students in their learning. In terms of other Europeana learning scenarios, I found the “Woman in Science as Role Models”, “Smart Home – An Exhibitions of the Inventions Throughout History” and “Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day” learning scenarios to be valuable additions when implementing this learning scenario.

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario? Inventions and Discoveries created by Tomislav Pavlović

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? You might also like: 

Do you want to discover more stories of implementation? Click here.

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

Leave a Reply

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial