What do hearing aids, wheelchairs and prosthetics all have in common? All three are examples of assistive technology that help people with disabilities or the elderly perform daily activities independently or with assistance. In this lesson, students will learn about assistive devices and how innovation plays a key role in the invention process, including raising empathy. Specifically, students will learn how 3D printed prosthetics are changing lives and design their own assistive technology to help others.
Using the invention process, teams will be asked to identify a problem that could be solved through a new assistive device or an innovation to an existing invention. They will then sketch, draw or build an assistive device to share with their classmates in 4 to 5 minutes presentations. Students should receive constructive feedback from their peers, work on any redesigns and present their device to real-life stakeholders. An optional activity for schools that have 3D printers is to allow students to 3D print their final designs.
In this interactive lesson, students will discover how new apps are improving the lives of people with a disability or illness and helping to raise empathy. Through original student-produced videos via PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs, students will learn about individuals who have overcome challenges and went on to help others. Then, students will use their knowledge of the invention process to design their own app which addresses a problem facing their school or community.