We’re about to kick-off one of my favorite units — Inventors and Inventions. I like it so much because it’s a total confidence builder for my Kinder kids.
Before we begin talking about various inventions and inventors, my five-year olds think inventors can only be adults. They quickly understand that they are inventors, too, simply by creating something that’s never been created before. Our makerspace is continuously being used, but after we start this unit, our item consumption goes through the roof. As it should!
One of the inventors we’ll study is Margaret (Mattie) Knight. According to Wikipedia, “She has been called the “most famous 19th-century woman inventor.” She held 27 patents and created 90 inventions.
We’ll learn about her from the picture books, In the Bag (Monica Kulling/David Parkins) and Marvelous Mattie (Emily Arnold McCully). My Kinder kids will love hearing about her childhood and about her love of designing and building things.
While we can thank her for inventing various machines that cut out and sewed shoes, a window and sash frame, a dress and skirt shield, a barbecue spit, a clasp for holding robes, and a numbering device (source: Wikipedia), we can also thank her for designing a machine that automatically cut, folded and glued flat-bottomed paper bags. The result? Not just a new and better way to fold bags, but a revolutionized paper bag industry. What had taken 30 people to accomplish became the job of 1 machine.
Margaret Knight was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2006, and her original bag-making machine is on display in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.
In class, not only will we celebrate an amazing inventor by learning about her, we’ll also design and create our own paper bag puppets.
With so many incredible inventions on the way I’m thinking I’ll need to schedule a puppet theater day, too!