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Enchanted Learning: Inventors and Inventions

Example Web Site and/or Technical Equipment Required


Website Example:

More Ways

Computer(s), Internet access, projector, word-processing and presentation software

Activity Description

Intermediate and advanced students learn about inventions and inventors through jigsaw reading and follow up by writing a paragraph and/or making an oral presentation about an important invention or inventor.


  1. Make sure that the site is not blocked at your school. If it is, you may choose to print pages about select inventions.
  2. Download the Invention Assignment file (Example Document, above). Modify it and re-save if you plan to use it as a prompt for the follow-up activities (paragraph and oral presentation). Print and photocopy for students, as desired.
  3. Decide whether you will use a follow-up activity (paragraph or presentation) and prepare (a) model(s) for students to follow or download the Typewriter PowerPoint file (Example Document, above) which is a sample slideshow for an oral presentation on Inventions. .
  4. Prepare questions and/or a note-taking form to focus students’ reading in the jigsaw reading activity. Pre-teach grammar students will need to produce in speaking and/or writing: Present and past passive (was/were + past participle) – it was invented by / it was discovered by… and infinitives of purpose (it is used to …/ it was invented in order to… )


  1. Begin by introducing the topic of inventions with either showing some important inventions or by having students brainstorm and list in groups their top 10 important inventions. You may also use online timelines or slideshows, such as the following:
    Wikipedia Timeline of Historic Inventions
    Livescience Top 10 Inventions that Changed the World
    Famous Scientists and Inventors
  2. Tell students that they will be working in groups to learn about an invention from the Enchanted Learning Web site.
  3. Divide students into small groups. These groups will be the home groups. Within these groups, number students 1–3, 4, or 5, depending on how many students there are. All 1s, 2s, 3s, etc., will join together in expert groups.
  4. The expert groups will read and take notes about an invention for a jigsaw reading activity, using print-outs of the inventions information from the Web site, or students can work together using a computer. If using one computer per expert group, have students open the Example Web Site (above) and select the invention they have been assigned or have selected. Provide the questions (for example, "What is the invention or discovery? What is its history? Who invented it? When? Where?" etc. – see the Important Invention Assignment prompt) to the expert groups. Model for students how to read and take notes and/or answer the questions.
  5. In expert groups, students can write a short summary together or can practice orally summarizing what they have read. Once all expert groups are confident that all the members understand what they have read and can orally summarize the information, reconvene the home groups.
  6. In each home group, the "experts" will share what they learned about an invention. The other members of the group can take notes.
  7. After each member of the home group has shared information about an invention, ask students to share what they learned. Optionally, you can tell students to study their notes and give a short quiz the next day.
  8. Next, you can have students write a paragraph about an invention or inventor of their choice. You may choose to have students write an opinion piece about the greatest invention ever or the best invention of the past century or millennium (see the note-taking form for an outline for their paragraphs). If they need to, they can get information about the inventions or inventors from Wikipedia or Simple English Wikipedia . Guide students in writing a topic sentence identifying the invention or discovery and its inventor with a statement about why they chose that topic, explaining briefly two to four reasons why this invention is important, using transitions between sentences, and using a conclusion.
  9. Last, students may make a PowerPoint presentation (or use another type of visual aid) about the invention or inventor they researched and wrote about (see the Example Document, above, PowerPoint file).

Teacher Tips

  • The Enchanted Learning page on Inventors and Inventions has numerous resources searchable alphabetically, by type period, by theme (food, communication, clothing, fun, medicine, science/industry, transportation, and undersea), or by country. You may choose to focus on a particular country, such as the USA, or allow students to write and present about an important inventor or invention from their native countries.
  • Many sites, like this one, have advertising. Teach your students what ads look like and how to avoid selecting them since sometimes they contain malware that they will not want on their computers, at school or at home. It is a very important and necessary skill for them to know.

More Ways

  • Enchanted Learning offers Web and print curriculum materials, many without a subscription, appropriate for use with many levels of ESL on the subjects of holidays, states, maps, grammar, vocabulary, spelling, games, and much more. See the site index  for a complete list.



  • Intermediate High
  • Advanced


Basic Communication

  • (0.1) Communicate in interpersonal interactions

Basic Communication

  • (4.8) Demonstrate effectiveness in working with other people

Basic Communication

  • (7.2) Demonstrate ability to use critical thinking skills
  • (7.3) Demonstrate ability to use problem-solving skills
  • (7.4) Demonstrate study skills
  • (7.7) Demonstrate the ability to use information and communication technology
  • (7.1) Identify or demonstrate effective skills and practices in accomplishing goals
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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN200091-A2 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.