What Was the Most Influential Invention of the Last Thousand Years?
Invention Unit Rubric
Big 6 Process:
I. Task Definition
a. Essential Question: What was the most influential invention of the last thousand
b. Thesis statement/Topic Sentence
c. Foundation Questions: See Graphic Organizer
II. Information Seeking Strategies
a. Personal knowledge
b. Required sources: Encyclopedia, Internet, books
III. Location and Access
a. School library and/or Public library
b. Information provided by teacher/librarian
IV. Use of Information
a. As you research, list information about your sources: See Works Cited Organizer.
b. Take notes based on information from your sources. Print off Internet information
and use a highlighter to highlight information related to your topic. All Internet
information must be included at the end of your final essay.
c. Enter information into your Graphic Organizer.
a. ____Outline: Due to Mrs. Williams (10 pts.).
b. ____Rough draft of persuasive essay to Mrs. Williams (30 pts.).
c. ____Graphic organizer: Due to Mrs. Lane (50 pts.).
d. ____Final persuasive essay with cover page, Works Cited page, and copies of Internet
pages used--due to Mrs. Williams (70 pts.).
i. Ideas: Clearly states topic sentence; provides detailed reasons and evidence
supporting position; clearly describes how the invention influences them and
ii. Organization: Cover sheet with title and picture of invention; title, introduction
and conclusion are all related; adds transitions between paragraphs; support is
well organized in separate paragraphs.
iii. Voice: Writer’s voice and opinions are shared throughout the persuasive essay;
takes risks yet shows respect in sharing opinions.
iv. Word Choice: Uses descriptive adjectives, verbs, and nouns; words are not
v. Sentence Fluency: Sentence beginnings and lengths are varied; sentences are
easy to read out loud; no fragments or run-ons.
vi. Conventions: Minimal spelling errors; verb tense is appropriate; capitalization;
vii. Presentation: Essay is 1-2 pages in length; 1-inch margins; 12-point font if
typed, or in pen, double spaced; includes a Works Cited page with a minimum of
3 sources: encyclopedia, Internet, book. Internet sources are printed and
submitted with essay.
Information Seeking and Location and Access
I. In the library, there are several sources of information on inventions.
a. Reference Section:
i. Encyclopedias: Use the index first to find references to your invention. Often
you will find cross-references to other volumes.
ii. Biographical dictionaries: Names are arranged in dictionary style, in
alphabetical order. Entries are often brief, but may give you some clues for
further detective work.
iii. Special sets: Authors, mathematicians, women, scientists, and African-
Americans are featured in some of the special sets.
b. Biography Section:
i. 920s are the collections of biographies. These books include more than one
person. Browse these shelves for special subjects.
ii. 921s are individual biographies. Look for the name of an inventor by last
name. All of the available books about that person will be together on the
i. Use the OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog) to find which books we may
have in our library. If the book is IN, look on the shelf. If the book is OUT,
you may put it on hold and it will be delivered to you as soon as it is returned.
You can search for books by SUBJECT (inventor* or invention*, or by the
specific name of the invention), or by KEYWORD (keyword searches for any
record that includes that word). All of the results may not be relevant to your
search. If one keyword doesn’t work, try others. Think of related terms,
broader terms, or narrower terms.
d. On the Internet: Inventors and Their Stories
1. African American Inventors who made huge contributions to the world:
2. Inventions We Love to Hate: How some inventions were failures at first.
3. The Great Idea Finder: View accomplishments of inventors and their
4. Inventor of the Week Archives: Alphabetical listing of inventions designed by
MIT University. http://www.inventored.org/k-12/
5. National Inventors Hall of Fame: Good for technical inventions. Search by
inventor or invention or date of induction into the Hall of Fame.
6. Smithsonian Inventors Page specializes in African-American and other minority
inventors and women inventors. This site also has links to other sites.
7. Thinkquest Inventors Page: A wonderful site about inventors and inventions.
In addition, within this site are links to other sites.
8. U.S. Patent Office Site for Kids: Special site for kids about inventors,
inventions, links and the patenting process. http://www.uspto.gov/go/kids/
9. Wacky Inventions http://www.colitz.com/site/wacky/wackyold.htm
e. On the Internet: Specific Inventions
1. Anesthesia: http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/features/1995/033095/ether.html
2. Ballpoint pen:
3. Computer: http://inventors.about.com/?once=true&
4. DDT: http://www.chem.ox.ac.uk/mom/ddt/ddt.html
5. Electric Lamp:
6. Flight: http://www.wrightflyer.org
7. Flying Shuttle: http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/TEXflying.htm
8. Frozen Food: http://www.birdseyefoods.com/birdseye/
9. Gatling Gun: http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/FWWgatling.htm
10. Jet-Powered Aircraft:
11. Penicillin: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aso/databank/entries/dm28pe.html
12. Phonograph: http://www.edisonnj.org/menlopark/aspeakingmachine.asp
13. Printing Press http://www.fecha.org/gutenbergbio.html
14. Telescope http://www.crs4.it/Ars/arshtml/galileo2.html
15. Television http://inventors.about.com/science/inventors/?once=true&
16. Typewriter http://educate.si.edu/scitech/carbons/text/equip.html (Click on
Smithsonian Websites A-Z.)
17. Vaccination http://www.encyclopedia.com/articles/04600.html
18. Writing http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/GLOSSARY/CUNEI.HTM
19. X-Rays http://inventors.about.com/science/inventors/?once=true&
Synthesis: Writing your Outline, Works Cited page and Essay:
The next step in Big6 is to synthesize your information. The following writing guide will help you
develop an outline, a persuasive essay, and a Works Cited page.
1) Steps in completing a Persuasive Essay
i) Find and narrow your topic. Consider the question you are answering.
ii) Decide on your audience, main point (position statement), and purpose.
iii) Brainstorm for examples, details, facts, reasons and incidents that support your position
iv) Organize your ideas in an outline form.
i) Prepare an introduction, conclusion and title that relate to your position statement.
ii) Create a first draft using your outline as a guide. Include transitions to help your
thoughts flow smoothly.
iii) Write down your sources in your notes as you find them, so you can easily develop a
Works Cited page. This will be developed in class as a separate lesson.
iv) Parts of a Persuasive Essay
(1) Introduction paragraph with a position statement
(2) Supporting paragraphs with evidence for your position. Begin with your reasons for
choosing a particular invention, and provide evidence or support for each of those
reasons based on your research.
(3) Conclusion paragraph with a reminder of the thesis statement.
c) Revising with the Six Traits of Good Writing in Mind
i) Look for areas that could be improved:
(1) Do you have a good title?
(2) Can your introduction be more interesting or informative?
(3) Is the topic sentence clear?
(4) Do your supporting paragraphs contain relevant information?
(5) Do your supporting paragraphs contain enough information to convince the reader
of your point of view?
(6) Can you add details, facts, reasons, or incidents that would make the essay clearer
or more interesting?
(7) Can you use more descriptive nouns, verbs, or adjectives to bring a clearer picture
to your reader’s mind?
(8) Does your opinion and voice come through in your writing?
(9) Could the supporting paragraphs be organized in such a way that the information is
(10) Are there any transitions that you could add to make the essay read more smoothly?
Can you easily read your essay out loud?
(11) Does the conclusion tie the essay together by referring to your position statement?
Could it be more interesting?
(12) Are there any mistakes in grammar, usage, mechanics, or spelling?
(13) Does your Works Cited page include every source you used or quoted?
(14) Did you avoid plagiarism and include copies of Internet sources?
d) Write the Final Essay in the appropriate format
i) Include cover page with a picture of the invention
ii) Include the Works Cited page as needed.
iii) Type or neatly write the essay in its final form.
Works Cited Organizer
Author’s Name if given ____________________
Internet Source—If an article from another
source (magazine/journal) is on a website:
Publisher/City (if given)___________________
Date of publication_______________________
Website where the article was found:
Date you accessed the site__________________
Author’s First and Last Name______________
Where it was published (city)_______________
Big6 Graphic Organizer
Develop a topic sentence for your introductory paragraph that answers the Essential Question: What was the most influential invention
in the last thousand years?
Introduction: Who Supporting Paragraphs #1-2
invented it? When? How has the invention influenced the U.S.? The World? You personally?
Briefly describe the
invention. Summarize your
support in a few brief
Supporting Paragraphs #3-4: What makes this invention more influential than other inventions?
Include a statement that begins with “Even though this invention . . . .” and ends with “I still believe it is
the most influential invention of the last millennium.”