5th Grade Inventors Fair / March 15th


In our Inventors Workshop Unit: The fifth graders are required to brainstorm, research and write their proposals for their invention ideas in science class. Our goal is to have all proposals completed and approved in December.  Each 5th grade invention idea must meet the following required criteria before it is approved:

  • It helps society
  • It solves a problem
  • It is safe to construct in class
  • It is inexpensive to construct
  • It can be constructed in 1.5 months in science class which only meets 4 X a cycle and for 1 hour each class
  • It is innovative and unique (can’t be found online or in the stores)

Students and their families have the entire December and winter break to gather materials needed for construction which starts in mid-January. Starting in mid-January, science classes are devoted to: designing, constructing, and testing their inventions. While constructing, they are required to document daily progress on construction logs. Once the invention is complete, each student must complete a Final Test Log to ensure that the invention is functional and durable. Also, each student must complete a Friends School Patent Application, including a final blueprint, which gives the student all rights to his/her invention. We end this unit with an Inventor’s Fair in March, when we invite our entire community to be an authentic audience to come and lean the students’ invention stories. After the Fair, the students will complete reflections and grade themselves using a rubric.

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The 5th grade Inventor’s Workshop is the culmination of the Lower School’s Design and Construction Science curriculum. This hands-on science curriculum starts in kindergarten where students are designing and building the following:

  • Kindergarten – sail boat
  • K/Pre-First – moon buggy
  • Pre-First – wind racer
  • First – balloon powered car
  • Second – wood racer
  • Third – electric car challenge
  • Fourth – an electric device

Each grade has the similar design/construction processes:

  • Brainstorm
  • blueprint ideas
  • Construct, document and test
  • Final Test and document
  • Final blueprint
  • Rubric/reflection

As the students get older, they are given more choices and are allowed more individuality.  For example: The third graders have three choices for construction: electric cars with a pulley; electric car with a motor; or electric car with gears). In fourth grade, it becomes even more individual. The 4th graders have five choices for construction: a fan/flash light system; a water craft system; an aircraft system; a room/house system; a matching game. All systems (except for the matching game) require the students to have a functional motor/light system that turns on/off using parallel circuits with homemade switches.

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When a student graduates from Lower School, he/she will receive an entire portfolio folder containing all his/her LS construction projects, including all the initial/final blueprints, constructions logs, final test logs, rubrics/reflections, photos, etc.  – Lisa Filer

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