Teach PA History
Invention Convention: Becoming Pennsylvania's Next Great Inventor
What to Know
Teaching Time
2 50-minute sessions
Grade Level
Elementary School
  • Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening
  • History
  • Science and Technology
Historical Period
  • Civil War and Reconstruction - 1856-1876
  • Development of the Industrial Pennsylvania - 1877-1900
  • The Emergence of Modern Pennsylvania - 1901-1928
This lesson will introduce students to historic Pennsylvania inventors and their inventions. Students will engage in artifact analysis of primary source photos and illustrations of several inventions. Next, students will create their own unique invention using materials from an "Inventor's Kit." Like the historic inventions they will analyze, students" inventions should be able to (a) improve transportation, (b) make a daily task easier, or (c) be a source of fun and recreation. Finally, students will study patents belonging to historic Pennsylvania inventors and simulate the patent process by making detailed drawings and written descriptions of their own inventions.


Students will be able to: 1. Analyze primary source photos and illustrations of inventions by Pennsylvanians. 2. Describe traits of each invention. 3. Classify each invention based on its traits. 4. Create a prototype of a new invention. 5. Analyze primary source patents issued to Pennsylvania inventors. 6. Simulate applying for a patent for the student-made inventions by writing a thorough description and making a detailed drawing of the student-made invention.

Standards Alignment

  • History

    8.1.3. D. Understand historical research
    8.1.3 B. Develop an understanding of historical sources.
    8.2.3. A. Understand the political and cultural contributions of individuals and groups to Pennsylvania.

  • Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening

    1.2.5. A. Read and understand essential content of informational texts and documents in all academic areas.
    1.4.5. B. Write multi-paragraph informational pieces.
    1.6.5. D. Contribute to discussions.
    1.6.5. E. Participate in small and large group discussions and presentations.
    1.6.5.A. Listen to others

  • Science and Technology

    3.1.4. B. Know that natural and human-made objects are made up of parts.
    3.2.4. B. Describe objects in the world using the five senses.
    3.6.4. C. Know physical technologies of structural design, finance, production, marketing, research and design.
    3.7.4. A. Explore the use of basic tools, simple materials, and techniques to safely solve problems.
    3.8.4. A. Know that people select, create, and use science and technology and that they are limited by social and physical restraints.
    3.8.4. B. Know how human ingenuity and technological resources satisfy specific human needs and improve the quality of life.

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