• Paper towel rolls
  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Juice cans
  • Boxes of all shapes
  • Plastic containers of yogurt, sour cream
  • Tape
  • Glue
  • Rubber bands
  • Staplers
  • Pipe cleaners


Developing Skills

  • Observation
  • Team work
  • Problem-solving
  • Constructing ideas
  • Creative-thinking


Set Up and Prepare

Send home a note to parents explaining that children will be learning about machines. Ask parents to start collecting items that would be useful in inventing a new machine.



Step 1: Engage children in a discussion about machines. What do children know about them? Which ones do they use at home or school? Share some of the modern machines we use today. Explain that most machines were invented to solve a problem or make work easier. Title a large chart paper with the word "machine" at the top. Brainstorm a list of different machines.

Step 2: Tell children they will invent their own machines. Their machines can be silly or serious! Maybe some want to make machines that help our environment, machines that let you fly above the trees, machines that collect eggs from the hen house, machines that do household chores.

Step 3: Pass out drawing paper and invite children to draw their machines.

Step 4: Place collected items on a table and let children create what they have invented.

Step 5: Have machine share time. What does the machine do? Does it help people with their work? Make life more fun?

Remember: Accept all children's ideas and guide thinking by asking questions about what they are creating. This will help children with the steps in making a machine. Model how to connect items using masking tape. It would be helpful to have a parent or older child available to assist children with their constructions. Pairs of extra hands will ensure success with this project.


Take-Home Activity

Send home a letter explaining that children have been studying machines. Request that children interview their parents. What machines do they use in their daily lives? Ask each child to draw and label a picture of one of the machines their parents use.


Curriculum Connection: Science

Go on a "machine walk"
Go to the office, cafeteria, art room, computer lab, and custodial room and observe machines used in your school. Ask some of the school workers to describe and demonstrate how they use the machines. When you return to the classroom, invite children to make a mural that shows some of the machines used in school.


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