Age group: 
Social Science

Classroom unit


This unit provides a way for students to look at a range of Australian inventions and innovations over time and determine how they have impacted on the development of Australia.

An invention here refers particularly to an object that is created to do something better. An innovation can be a process rather than an object.

Students work on individual assignments but produce an overall timeline, which also critically evaluates the significance and impacts of the invention or innovation studied. 

The IP concepts contained within this unit include trade marks, patents, and registered designs.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this unit students will be better able to:

  • describe a variety of significant inventions/innovations in Australian history
  • sequence a series of inventions/innovations
  • understand how inventions/innovations changed Australia over time
  • critically analyse the impacts and effects of inventions and innovations
  • appreciate the role of patents, trade marks and designs in the success of inventions or innovations

Curriculum Area/s: History - Change over time

Year/s: 12-16 years (Secondary). Could be adapted to 8-11 years (Primary) with the elimination of some of the research criteria.


Teacher Prep Time:  5 minutes

Materials required: Online, smart board or hard copies of Worksheets 1-4


  1. Explain the task to students from Worksheet 1 Your task. Stress that a key emphasis is not just on description of the invention or innovation, but a critical evaluation of it. This means using evidence and argument to justify a position.
  2. Have students create a short summary that can be placed in sequence on a notice board, and so create a timeline. Alternatively, students can scan the summaries to create their own digital timeline.
  3. Students should submit a written or oral presentation which explains and justifies their conclusions about the invention or innovation that they research. In doing this they need to refer to Worksheets 2-4, on Patents, Design and Trade Marks.
worksheet_1-_what_are_the_stages_in_invention-innovation.pdf PDF in PDF format [237.69 KB]237.69 KB
worksheet_2-_what_is_a_trade_mark.pdf PDF in PDF format [174.87 KB]174.87 KB
worksheet_3-_what_is_a_design.pdf PDF in PDF format [170.74 KB]170.74 KB
worksheet_4-_what_is_a_patent.pdf PDF in PDF format [164.17 KB]164.17 KB
Last updated: 
Saturday, November 23, 2013