Taboo is a great way to introduce a lesson about inventions, you can find some invention taboo cards on our taboo page.

Used to
The theme of inventions is a great way to practise talking about the past with used to. Divide the taboo vocabulary cards among groups of students and have them write sentences using used to to describe what people did before this particular object was invented. You could have them omit the name of the invention and turn it into a game. For example:

  • Before this was invented, people used to guess the time by using the sun
  • Before this invention, families used to talk to each other and sing songs

Mini presentations
butter stickA google image search of crazy inventions will give you a wealth of material to introduce this concept. Choose a couple of examples and have students think about how to describe the invention and its benefits to potential customers. For example:

  • It’s a cross between butter and a glue stick
  • You don’t need to use a knife
  • It’s very handy and you can carry it with you

Challenge students to come up with their own inventions by crossing or adding to some of the inventions you have already spoken about. Get them to draw their inventions and make mini presentations to the class.

Discussion ideas

  • Have students rank the top ten most important inventions
  • Discuss which inventions are now obsolete and which might be on their way to becoming obsolete
  • Speculate about what new inventions might be on such a list in 20, 50, 100 years time





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