Science/Art Activity

In this activity, children will discuss how machines help people do things. Then they will “invent” machines that can help them do something they have difficulty doing.

What You Need

  • large construction paper
  • pictures of different machines at work (optional)
  • crayons, colored pencils, or magic markers

What to Do

  1. Discuss with children how different machines help people do things. For example, airplanes help people fly to different places, and trucks help people carry heavy things from place to place. Point out that machines often help people do things that they could not do, or would have trouble doing, by themselves. Then ask children what kinds of things they can't do (or have trouble doing) on their own. List their responses on chart paper.
  2. Next, explain to children that they are going to be inventors. They are going to invent machines that help them do difficult things. Allow them some time to brainstorm in small groups about the types of machines they could invent. (They can refer to the list for ideas.)
  3. Then pass out the construction paper and have children draw their machines. Tell them to leave space at the bottom of the paper for the name of the machine. Help them to label their pictures as necessary. When children are finished, have them share their pictures in small groups. Encourage them to tell the name of each invention and what it does.
  4. Finally, display the finished pictures on an Inventors' Hall of Fame bulletin board.

Teaching Options

  • Have an inventors' convention. Children can dress in lab coats (or smocks), display the pictures of their inventions on tables around the room, and visit each other's exhibits.
  • Set up a classroom invention company. Invite children from other classes to suggest difficult tasks for which they would like help from machines. Then have the children in your class invent (draw pictures of) machines that can do the jobs.
  • Have children build machines with blocks and other classroom materials.