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Teacher Feature

Give It Up!


Do your students know how much they rely on certain inventions and technologies every day?  Open their eyes to the impact of inventions on their daily lives with this fun and valuable activity.


Day One

Have students select one of the inventions from the following list (or create your own using the current Social Studies unit of study): computer, telephone, television, watch, stereo (including portable CD and MP3 players).  Give students a background on their selected invention, including who invented it, when, and how it changed society.  Explain to students that they will use the Invention Observation worksheet to observe, for one whole day, how their selected invention impacts their daily life.

Day Two

As a class, discuss the students' observations.  Lead the class discussion by posing the following questions:  Which invention was used the most in one day?  The least?  Which one would be most difficult to give up for a day?  Why would that invention be harder to give up than the others?

Distribute the Can You Do It? worksheet and explain to students that, for the next 24 hours, they will try to avoid using their selected invention. Be sure to review the disclaimer on the worksheet and explain to students that this assignment does not preclude them from their regular responsibilities at school and at home.

Day Three

Have students share their observations as a class. Allow students to describe their experiences. Lead a class discussion by posing the following questions: Did the whole class find it difficult to give up their selected inventions, or were some inventions harder to give up than others? What alternatives did students find to the inventions? Were there any advantages of these alternatives?


Challenge students to write a pro-con paper about their experience giving up the use of their selected invention.  In the paper, have students analyze the advantages and disadvantages of a world without their selected invention.  Have students use specific examples of their experience to back up their main points.


The project described above reflects some of the national standards of learning as defined by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE), and the International Society for Technology in Education.  These standards are listed below:

Language Arts Standards

Time, Continuity, and Change:  Students will analyze how one specific invention impacts their daily life.

Social Studies Standards

Demonstrate competence in the general skills and strategies of the writing process:  Students will create an original pro-con paper, highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of a world without their selected invention.

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