Implementation of ‘Inventions and Discoveries’ (SOI-GR-235)

“The progressive development of man is vitally dependent on invention. It is the most important product of his creative brain.”

― Nikola Tesla, My Inventions

This SOI is based on the learning scenario “Inventions and Discoveries” by Tomislav Pavlović and was initially implemented in an Erasmus+ ambassador school with learners aged 11-14 years old. The LS was chosen because it promotes critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. Also, the flexibility of the LS allows teachers many ways to implement it to develop literacy, and communicative and digital competence, while focusing on innovation. The activities were modified to accommodate our online teaching mode due to the pandemic restrictions. The implementation of the scenario was developed and customized to best meet the needs of learners and their interests.

The implementation context

The learning scenario was implemented by all three classes of the 6th grade Primary School students, aged 11-12, during distance teaching, both synchronously, four 30 minute sessions, and asynchronously, on the digital platforms suggested by the Greek Ministry of Education, webex and e-class respectively.  All learners were familiar with the Europeana platform and its resources, as they had previously worked on it with the “Implementation of ‘In My Shoes’ (SOI-EXT-190) in 2020, while they were in the 5th grade, and the “We Give Peace a Chance” (LS-GR-544) in 2021. The activities designed are cross curricular, allowing learners to develop their skills and expand their knowledge on English, Science, Technology, Geography, History, ICT, Languages and Literacy. The content, resources, materials, and activities suit the current Greek primary education National Curriculum. The students had already finished Unit 4 in their course book, which familiarized them with biographies of inventors, the story of Daedalus and Icarus, the Wright Brothers, Igor Sikorsky and the Montgolfier brothers.

The narrative

Following flipped classroom approach, before the first lesson, students were asked to watch a video about important inventions in human history and reflect on their positive effects, and then do the LearningApps activity, matching the people with their scientific breakthroughs.

During the 1st synchronous online session, students discussed their findings in the matching activity and the positive effects of the inventions they had watched on the video. Then, the students were introduced to a wordwall “Open the Box” activity and tried to guess what the photos represented. This activity was followed by a discussion about the 5 major inventions and discoveries they had seen, made by Tesla, Daguerre, Tim Berners-Lee, Curie and Fleming, while looking at these resources on the Europeana platform.

Online synchronous discussion

Subsequently, they were asked to work in groups asynchronously and explore the lives of these important people in two platforms that provide content designed and written specifically for early learners and offer safe kids web, britannica and kiddle. More specifically they were asked to collect information about where and when these people were born and died, their nationality, the scientific development they are best known for and any interesting piece of information about them that was included in the resources, and had impressed them, and then gather their findings in jamboard to make posters. The resources they used were embedded in the wakelet presentation which was posted in their e-class, with an accompanying glossary to facilitate their understanding.

Asynchronous e-learning

In the following two online lessons students presented their work synchronously to the whole class and they discussed any necessary vocabulary. After the presentation of all five inventions and discoveries, and biographies, learners were asked to reflect on the material they had explored with the class and submit their opinion on the following question “What is the most important invention for you?” on the menti platform.

Online synchronous brainstorming activities

In the final teaching period, learners presented their favourite inventor to the class. They, then, answered what makes a good inventor and filled in their reflection rubrics. After the lesson I used an assessment rubric to evaluate my students’ participation and a reflective rubric for my practices and the outcomes of the lesson.  

Reflect and Evaluate

There were students who used all the resources and, voluntarily, created e-books (Biographies, Inventions and Discoveries, Steve Jobs) for the whole class, and others who prepared handmade posters with the information they had gathered to post in our e-class.

Student Project Work

On the whole, the changes/adaptations in the SOI involve

  • Following the flipped classroom approach throughout the implementation of the learning scenario
  • Asking  students to watch a relevant video prior to the lesson to activate prior knowledge and instigate their curiosity and interest in the topic of the lesson
  • Answering the padlet questions orally during class time on webex
  • Selecting and using specific Europeana resources to provoke imaginative and creative thinking, and introduce students to the people whose biographies they would explore
  • Assigning students specific web resources for a safe web search  
  • Asking students to reflect and submit their answers on menti and answergarden
  • The use of a student self-reflection grid, concerning reading, writing, speaking, listening, collaboration and use of digital resources
  • The use of an assessment rubric as well as a teacher reflective rubric at the end of the lesson

Online Synchronous Student Reflection

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the implementation of the learning scenario, the learners were able to understand and identify specific information in authentic informative or descriptive texts, concerning scientific developments and the biographies of important personalities. They were also able to produce short texts, utilizing information from different sources, both visual and textual. They developed their speaking and listening skills, understanding and interacting about biographies and scientific breakthroughs.  

Students, additionally, developed their digital competence as they did safe web search, understood and made use of digital resources, used digital collaborative tools, familiarized themselves with the educational value of websites, expressed themselves through the computer environment and created their own digital narrative.

Finally, learners developed their communicative and social competences as they interacted and collaborated. They raised their awareness about gender equality, breaking down prejudices and stereotypes, and familiarized themselves with STEM based professions.

Online Aynchronous Student Reflection

Outcomes for the educator

The Europeana resources supported me in providing a creative learning experience  and managed to stimulate the inventing imagination of primary school children, arouse their interest to explore heroes who have significantly changed our lives with their inventions and discoveries, encourage their confidence and help them learn how important it is to positively contribute to the community.

The pedagogical integration of Europeana Resources fostered the European cultural identity, encouraged learners to become aware of our cultural heritage in its digital transformation, empowered them to curate resources and use digital tools to construct knowledge, creating meaningful learning experiences and fostering innovation.

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

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CC BY 4.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Wellcome Collection.

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