Inventions and Innovations

This online research resource will help your students to explore a range of inventions and innovations and learn about some fascinating items we used to use.

Recommended for Year 5 to 8

This lesson is also available to share as Google Slides

Curriculum Links

Social Sciences
“understand how the past is important to people” Level 1

“understand how time and change affect peoples lives” Level 2

“understand how people remember and record the past in different ways” Level 3

“understand that technology both reflects and changes society and the environment, and increases people’s capabilities” Level 2

Setting the Scene

– Brainstorm document (or you could use an online tool
– Top ten inventions/innovations document (in workbook)
– Access to the internet and a computer

Inventions vs. Innovations

Encourage your class to think about inventions and innovations, discover what knowledge your class has about this subject.

Students discuss and brainstorm ideas on the difference between an invention and an innovation (this could be done individually, or in small groups with one person recording the groups ideas).

The general idea is that an invention is the first of the object/type, whereas an innovation improves on the invention to make it better meet a need.

Ask each student to make a list of their top 10 inventions or innovations of all time using the top ten inventions/innovations document in the workbook.

Word document icon Download the Workbook here

Get Smart! at MOTAT

– MOTAT Get Smart Exhibition Walkthrough link
– Draw and label document in the workbook
– Discussion question document in the workbook

Virtual gallery tour

Have the students check out the MOTAT Get Smart Exhibition. This exhibition looks at the large range of technology that has gone into a smartphone, and the innovations in that technology over time. Check out the Virtual Tour here.

Discussion questions:

· What technology do you recognise?

· How has that technology changed from the collection items you see here and what we have in our homes?

The future of technology:

Ask the students to choose one example of technology they saw in the Get Smart exhibition walk through (eg: phone, television, radio). Encourage them to think about the future and how they think the item will change. Invite them to draw a picture of their chosen item from the future and label it with any changes/modifications/innovations they think it might have. (You could get the students to use an online tool such as A Web Whiteboard)

Spotlight on old technology

– MOTAT Collections Online

MOTAT Padlet Research Tool
– A device and access to the internet

Research online:

Invite the students to complete a research project using a combination of the MOTAT Collections Online, other websites, and the student led research tool provided from MOTAT via Padlet. This resource is designed to help students to make decisions around the resources they are using as to whether the content is relevant and correct.

Have each student choose two of the following items:

Ask the students to answer the following questions about the two items they’ve chosen using the Padlet tool.

  • What is the item for?
  • What kind of job was the item used for?
  • Who would have used the item?
  • Is the item something we could still use today? If not, why do we not use the item, and what has it been replaced with?

Once students have completed their research, ask them to present it in the form of a poster, a video or a slide presentation and share their final product with us in the Padlet.

Report Back

– Technology to record photos and movies

We love to hear from you:
– Email us photos of your predictions for future technology to motat.fun@motat.org.nz
– Share your old technology research with us via Padlet


This lesson is also available to share as Google Slides

This lesson is also available to download as a PDF Adobe acrobat icon