Inventors are exciting; some are brainiacs while others are just ‘ordinary’ folk, but where would we be without such innovators? My children were happy to have to opportunity to review The Greatest Inventors Grades 2-8) by A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks.
We received a PDF download that contained all of the lapbook elements, the text needed, and instructions on how to put it together. A few of pieces are in colour, but the majority of the book is in black and white, and two elements are shaped which makes them extra fun. It was easy to download and print, and the children began work on it right away.
The Greatest Inventors Are:
- Johannes Gutenberg
- Benjamin Franklin
- John Deere
- Wilber and Orville Wright
- Gugliemlmo Marconi
- George Eastman
- Louis Braille
- Eli Whitney
- Leonardo da Vinci
- Robert Fulton
- Thomas Jefferson
- Galileo Galilei
- George Stevenson
- Thomas Edison
- Jonas Salk
- George Washington Carver
- Henry Ford
- Alexander Graham Bell
As with all lapbooks, there were a few supplies we needed of our own: file folders (we used A3 construction paper), glue, double-sided tape, a stapler, pencil crayons, and packing tape.
Learning about the Greatest Inventors
Tristan is learning about aviation, so of course the first inventors he wanted to do were the Wright Brothers and Harry Ferguson! I was happy to see someone from right here in Northern Ireland included, it was a nice tie-in to seeing a Harry Ferguson model while at the Festival of Flight earlier this month.
We’ve been reading Helen Keller at home so Kallista gravitated towards learning more about Louis Braille and Alexander Graham Bell as they were both important figures in Helen’s life.
Next up was learning about the history of typsetting as we’d visited the Ulster Folk Museum with my parents in May and the kids saw old printing presses. And of course, with the solar eclipse in the news, Galileo Galilei was a must.
Each Inventor has about three quarters to a page of text to go with it. Phil or I generally read this text out so that both Tristan and Kallista could hear the story of their life and inventions together. Then they would each work on a separate element of the lapbook while sitting together at the table, or somewhere around the house.
Some days the children only did one inventor each; but on other days they worked on two or more. We just went with the flow. It’s summer and there have been many activities and events to attend, so we worked around and between with a little learning here and there. Of course, when you create a lapbook, it’s more fun than just reading a textbook and filling in worksheets.
Generally, after reading the text about a particular inventor, the corresponding element piece is cut out, folded and/or stapled into shape, and a question or three are answered about the inventor or his inventions before it’s glued into the lapbook itself.
In addition to the lapbook elements and text, there are also pages to print to track the books you read about inventors, a NICK guide to taking notes, and a couple of pages for working on book reports (there are 2 versions; one for younger children and another for older children).
This lapbook is listed as being appropriate for grades 2-8. Kallista is just going into grade 2, and she was able to do the work, as was Tristan at grade 4. However, I think this lapbook itself might be a little too easy for children up in grades 7 and 8. However, I would expect older children to do more individual study than I expect currently of my children. I would definitely expect older students to avail of the report writing about their favourite inventors, collating the information they gather from their NICK notes.
Because we were out and about and doing some hands-on learning over the summer and learning through many means, we haven’t yet done a complete written report, though the children have told me what they’ve learned as we go through the work. I’m keeping the report templates nearby so they can start working on one or two shortly. This will be a new experience for them, so it will be good for them to do it on an inventor they they have learned about in length over the year.
So in this way, the lapbook does span a range of ages, abilities, and time available as you can adjust the requirements accordingly. I like this flexibility, as well as how some of the skills can be transferred over to language arts. The elements and reading kept my children interested, which is good. And we liked the elements that had the children create their own invention and say who their favourite inventor is. Most lapbooks don’t do this.
Is there anything that could enhance this product? I would like to see a female inventor or two added, as well as someone more recent, and the kids would like a couple more uniquely shaped elements.
So many things have come together this summer. Is it coincidence? Maybe. But it has energised my children to find out so many connections between other parts of school and life, that it has made the characters in this lapbook more memorable for them! We’re going to continue the momentum as we focus on some Canadian inventors over the coming months.
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