Researching Female Inventors
In this reading and writing lesson plan Researching Female Inventors, first and second graders will learn about several female inventors and scientists through a short research and informational writing activity. Through the use of videos, books, and informative websites, children will be inspired by the work of past and present female scientists, while building their vocabulary with terms such as "engineer," inventor," and "infectious disease." Then students will conduct their own research, write and illustrate about what they learned, and compare and contrast their findings with peers.
- Students will be able to conduct research.
- Students will be able to write an informative text.
- Gather the students together in a group.
- Explain to the students that today, they will be learning all about female inventors.
- Ask students to turn and talk to a partner, explaining what it means to invent something. Provide students with sentence stems/frames such as:
- An inventor is someone who ____.
- An inventor ____ new things.
- Allow students to briefly share their ideas with the rest of the class. Clarify that an inventor is someone who makes something that has never been made or has an idea that no one has had before. Record some other words that they may know that are similar to inventor, such as builder, creator, maker, innovator, or experimenter.
- Pass out a sticky note to each student. Explain to the students that they are going to watch a short video about a young inventor. As they watch, they should write down something interesting they learned, a question they have, or a picture that illustrates something that stood out to them as important or inspirational.
- Play the "A Young Scientist's Quest for Clean Water" video.
- Ask students to share out what they wrote on their sticky notes and place them on the whiteboard.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher modeling(15 minutes)
- Bring out the book Rosie Revere, Engineer (alternatively, bring up the read-aloud version on your computer).
- Explain to the students that before they learn about female inventors, they are going to learn about a girl named Rosie who dreamed of becoming an engineer.
- Elaborate that engineering is part of science, and it has to do with building and inventing things. Engineers are inventors and they ask a lot of questions before they come up with new ideas, machines, and products. That's why science is so much fun!
- Read the book aloud and ask students prompting questions throughout to check for understanding, such as:
- What are some of the inventions Rosie made? Why did she make them?
- How did Rosie feel after her uncle laughed at her cheese hat invention?
- Why did Rosie decide to keep her dreams to herself?
- How did Rosie's great-great aunt Rose inspire Rosie? Who is someone who inspires you?
- What does "But questions are tricky, and some hold on tight" mean to you?
- How does Rosie inspire us to take risks? What are some risks you've taken?
Guided Practice(20 minutes)
- Tape the anchor chart up on a wall or whiteboard so students can see it well.
- Explain to the students that today, they will research a female inventor they are interested in learning more about.
- Elaborate that when we research something, we learn more about it.
- Explain to the students that today they will have a chance to research one of the inventors listed on the anchor chart (or another that they are interested in and already know the name of).
- Display the Learning Through Research worksheet on the document camera.
- Read aloud the student directions.
- Tell the students that now you will model how to conduct research on a computer. Explain to the students that they will also have access to a variety of books and articles.
- Explain to the students that you are really interested in learning more about a female inventor named Sunetra Gupta. Elaborate that Sunetra is a novelist and scientist. She studies infectious diseases. Elaborate that infectious diseases are diseases that people get from things like bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites. Ask students to turn and talk about why scientists like Sunetra are important. Access the website about Sunetra Gupta (see link in materials section above).
- Read through some information on the website and watch the video "Sunetra Gupta on Being Wrong."
- Use the information you gathered to fill out Part 1 of the Learning Through Research worksheet.
- Display Part 2 and model writing a short informative text with an introduction, three facts, and a concluding sentence. Model using the information in Part 1 to guide you. Model your thought process about how to write the paper by thinking aloud.
Independent working time(20 minutes)
- Hand out the Learning Through Research worksheet to each student.
- Allow students to work in partnerships or on their own to research an inventor.
- Provide access to computers, tablets, and a class or school library if possible to encourage students to learn more about their chosen inventor and record their information.
- Rotate around the room to assist students as neccessary, guiding them if they struggle to find information about a particular person.
- Challenge students to use the Revise Your Informational Writing and Edit Your Informational Writing worksheets to make their writing better.
- Encourage students to research two female inventors and compare/contrast their findings.
- Allow students to make their own inventions. What would they make? How would they make it happen? What would they need?
- Allow students to work in a small, teacher-led group.
- Allow students to record their answers to the worksheet using assistive technology.
- Allow students to share their ideas verbally and record them on the worksheet for them.
- Provide students with devices to conduct research.
- Allow students to type their informative texts on a computer.
- Collect student worksheets to check for understanding.
- Use their work to gauge their understanding of the lesson's objectives.
Review and closing(5 minutes)
- Gather students back together and choose student volunteers to read their informative texts aloud.
- Compare and contrast interesting qualities about each inventor.
- Ask students to think about one thing they are still wondering and have them share their ideas with the rest of the class. Record their ideas on a piece of paper. Use their ideas to inform future lessons on female inventors.