Not-A-Box Inventions

It's the end of our American Contributors Unit {tear}.  But the end of this unit also means the start of Spring Break for me this week {happy face!}  No alarm setting, playing the stay-at-home-mom again, quiet morning trips to Wal-Mart, ahhhhh....

*cough* Back on track... After finishing up on our inventors for this unit {Edison & Bell}, we began talking about how inventors come up with inventions.  We read I Am Inventing an Invention.

This is a cute little book that tells about some kids trying to invent something for a school project.  It does a great job explaining what an invention is and the process of inventing.

Then, we charted how to make an invention.

And I LOVE this anchor chart, but to save me some time, I went digital with this one!  The digital version is now included in the unit!


The next day we read an adorable book I discovered at a workshop a few years ago...

It's about a bunny who gets asked about his box and he keeps saying, "It's not a box!" because he has turned the box into something else with his imagination.  The kids loved inferring what the bunny's invention is!

I also found this YouTube ebook of it.  That's what we used this year.  It's fast so we read it once all the way through and then listened again and paused in between pages.

Then we spent some time brainstorming ideas for inventions...checking to make sure they had not been invented before and that they had a useful purpose.  Not only does brainstorming out loud help encourage even more ideas that build off of each other, but it also helps me see who my creative inventors are so that I can spread those kiddos out as leaders for my groups.  Other than having to gently nudge them away from every kind of robot imaginable, my firsties always shock me in how easily they come up with things to invent.  And they come up with great ideas.  Every year!

We brainstormed on Wednesday.  On Thursday we started creating our not-a-boxes.  I was so proud of how well they worked.  We worked for an hour and 15 minutes on Thursday and continued working for another hour or so on Friday.  They were all engaged, cooperating and I even heard kids encouraging each other about their ideas.  It made my teacher heart so happy!

After kids thought about what invention they would like to create, they shared their idea with me and then I gave them paper to plan...


When their plan was complete, they picked out their box and got started.  I also had a table completely dedicated to "accessories" {construction paper, balloons, random left over craft supplies like circle die cuts, pom poms, craft sticks, foil and pipe cleaners}.  As you can imagine, some of them knew how to use the supplies in an effective way...and some groups were a tad more liberal with their accessorizing! *wink*

Here are a few of our favorite not-a-boxes!

Meet the "Flying Bed."  It takes you places while you stay in your pajamas and in your bed.  {Interestingly, I've had a similar invention two other times in other years!}  I loved that they turned the Amazon "smile" into the boxes mouth and added a mustache above!

As Mr. Grinch is modeling for you, you can ride comfortably and you even have access to your iPhone, the internet and your iPod {errrr....pipe cleaners for each of these} through a power line {errrr...yarn! I was so excited that made those connections to our electricity studies!}

Here's the "Dragon Plane."  It delivers food straight to your house so you don't have to get groceries.  There is a fire booster that will cook the food for you also!  LOVE!

Check out this part!  It says, "Food line.  Pull!"  You pull on the red pom and it sends an apple down!

Here is the mini-dragon plane in case your house is hard to get to!

And finally, it's the "Fun Boat."  Basically, this is a boat where you go to have fun and where robots will serve you so no people have to work on the boat!  This one cracks me up because the kids in this group really know how to have fun!  They are my partiers!! Fits them well--ha!

The boat's eyes are made from the boat windows, the mustache is a string of party lights and the mouth is a pipe cleaner!

Once they had built their not-a-box, they wrote about their invention and drew a detailed replica of their box.  They shared and presented their invention to the class and then we took pictures of each group with their boxes to publish by hanging in the hallway!

They were so proud!

I'll be enjoying my Spring Break next week and then diving deep into fairytales....which of course, for me, means the downhill race to summer will begin!


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