The late 19th century saw significant changes in the way basic items such as food and clothing were manufactured. Successful new inventions helped save time and increased productivity, allowing many more items to be made and sold. These changes expanded economic growth and had a major influence on how people lived.
- Ask students to consider how technology and technological inventions have changed people's lives and the manner in which we work. Ask students to research and find examples of Australian inventions, for example, the Coolgardie safe or the stump-jump plough. In a small group, have students develop a timeline and list the inventions in time order along the timeline.
- As a class, discuss how inventing new machines needs new ideas and creative thinking. Inventors usually set themselves a problem that they try to resolve through design and new ideas, testing them, producing the most successful items and marketing them to the general public. Some inventions don't always work or are too ahead of their time.
- Ask students to individually research one famous Australian inventor. Make sure they answer the questions:
- How did the inventor make their discovery?
- Did they experience many setbacks in the invention process?
- What did they produce, when, where, and how?
- What impact did the invention have on how people lived and worked in the era of the invention?
- What other inventions did they produce?
- The following website may be useful:
Power House Museum, Australia Innovates, www.powerhousemuseum.com/australia_innovates/
- Once students have completed their research work, have students create a vodcast or prepare an oral presentation with them acting in the role of the inventor. Students should explain the history behind their invention, and why it changed the world. Students should include pictures, diagrams and models to aid their presentation.
Provide students with Student Activity Sheet H14.3 Inventions that changed Australia for them to create a first-person dialogue introducing their inventor.
Student Activity Sheet H14.3: Inventions that changed Australia