Cambridge English Southern Europe

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Centenary Competition for Schools 2013 – Project 9

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This is the description of the ninth Project in the currently running Centenary Competition for Schools 2013.

Project 9: Create your own invention (ages 7+) 

Description of project: Students create their own invention. Note that for the activities below, students could decide on different categories of inventions (e.g. healthcare, travel, communication) or this can be kept open and general.

Age group: The majority of the activities are suitable for children aged 10+. Activities 3, 4 and 5 are suitable for children aged 7+. Remember that some of the activities can be adapted to suit younger children. For example, for Activity 1, you can ask students to tell you about their favourite inventions (rather than write about them) and you can look up who invented them in Activity 2.

Activity 1 (aged 10+) 

Ask students to write about their favourite invention of all time and to provide some background information on the inventor on two separate pieces of paper. Students can find detailed information on inventors and inventions on the internet.

Focus: Writing 

Activity 2 (aged 10+) 

Matching activity – pin up the inventors that students have written about on one side of the room and the inventions on the other side. Students have to read the inventions and match them to their inventor.

Focus: Reading 

Activity 3 (aged 7+) 

Guessing game – write some everyday objects on pieces of paper (e.g. television, computer, mobile phone, cooker/stove). Get your students to take it in turns to pick out one of these pieces of paper. They then describe the object and the other students have to guess the name of the object. You could do this as a game with the whole class or put students into groups and make a few sets of these pieces of paper, one for each group.

Focus: Speaking and Listening 

Activity 4 (aged 7+) 

Put students into groups of three or four and ask each group to think of a new invention. Ask them to draw a picture of their invention and write an explanation of what the invention is for and why it is needed in the world. If students find it hard to think of an invention, then encourage them to think of situations in life that they find annoying. For example, ‘I hate it when I find a spider in the bath’ – you could design a spider catcher for the bath.

Focus: Speaking, Listening and Writing 

Activity 5 (aged 7+) 

Depending on the ability of the class, ask the groups to make a mock-up model of their invention, either with materials in the classroom or with materials that they can find at home. It will obviously be difficult to make a mock-up of some inventions as they may be too technical – students could make a non-working model of their invention in this case so that other students can see what the invention will look like.

Activity 6 (aged 12+) 

Watch an episode of ‘Dragons’ Den’ on YouTube. One invention that is good to watch is the ‘electric egg cooker’. In ‘Dragons’ Den’, inventors demonstrate their invention to a panel of business people; they ask for funding in return for a percentage share of their company. The teacher could make a worksheet for the students to complete while watching this, focusing on key information about the product and key questions that the business people ask.

Focus: Listening

Activity 7 (aged 12+) 

Ask your students to imagine that they are going on ‘Dragons’ Den’ to present their invention. They need to write a brief business plan that includes the following: how much money they need to launch their product; what they would spend this money on; how they would market their invention; if they would have any special offers; where they would sell it; how much money they think the product could make.

Focus: Speaking and Writing 

Activity 8 (aged 12+) 

Get the different groups to present their invention to the class. They should talk about how they came up with the idea, what the invention does and why people will want to buy it. They may also be able to demonstrate their idea with the model they have made. Depending on the ability of the class, you could do this as a ‘Dragons’ Den’ type activity – the group could say what kind of funding they are looking for in return for what percentage stake in the company. The other groups could be the ‘Dragons’ – following the presentation the other groups could question the inventors about their product and their business plan, etc. After the inventors have answered the questions, each group says whether they would like to invest or not (whether they are ‘in’ or ‘out’). If they want to invest they need to say what amount they would give in return for what percentage of the company. The winning invention is the one with the best business deal. If possible, film this activity so the students can watch their presentations.

Focus: Speaking and Listening 

Activity 9 (aged 12+) 

If you have filmed the presentations, play the film back to your class and to another class in the school. Get the other class to vote on which invention they think is best – they could mark each group on the following categories: usefulness of invention; how convincing the invention is; how practical it is to make; how good the presentation was overall.

Focus: Listening 

Activity 10 (aged 10+) 

Ask each student to choose their favourite invention from the class and write a 100-word article to promote this invention in a local newspaper.

Focus: Writing

Written by Cambridge English Southern Europe

June 18, 2013 at 10:00 am

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