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Patents and Design ideas

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Science +4 Age Levels Elementary (9 to 12 years old), Middle School (13 to 15 years old)

Goal:  Students will see the importance in how patents and designs are drawn and created before they begin to make their own.  

Introduction:  Students are shown a picture of a sewing machine, but in the patent form.  Have them try to guess what it is.  Discuss why detailed drawings are important and how it helps in creating a design for an idea.  

Students use the see think wonder routine to work with other photos of patents and designs and figure out what they are.  Students will then watch a short film clip to see how inventors got inspired.  

Wrap up with an "I use to think, but now I think" discussion about how important designs are and being detailed can make a difference in a drawing.  

This could take one or two class periods as a short introduction before jumping into a designing project.

Patent drawing of No. 3 sewing machine, undated. [black and white]

Archives Center, National Museum of American History

See/Think/Wonder: Project Zero Visible Thinking Routine

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access

Lewis Latimer Patent Drawing

National Museum of American History

Patent Drawing for Abbot's Pyrheliometer

Smithsonian Archives - History Div

What Makes You Say That?: Project Zero Visible Thinking Routine

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access