This week you won’t need your computer… we’re going to do everything old school (i.e., on paper). Be sure to bring implements to write and sketch with (pen, pencil, felt markers, pencil crayons, or whatever) and something to write and sketch on (recycled paper, a notebook, sketch pad, utility bill envelopes, or whatever). Post-It notes are also very useful.

Before Class

Try brainstorming a history appliance.

  • Start by choosing an appliance (e.g., washing machine, microwave oven, hair dryer, lawnmower), a tool (e.g, scissors, key, hammer, shovel, knitting needles), a toy (e.g., sock monkey, ball, doll or action figure), an item of sports equipment (e.g., hockey stick, badminton birdie), a musical instrument (e.g., kazoo), or something else you might find lying around your house (e.g., key fob, eyeglasses, PEZ dispenser, erlenmeyer flask).
  • This is step two.
  • Now when you perform some action (e.g., press a switch, shake it, add water, turn a knob, put on a costume)…
  • The device somehow connects you to the past or to the flow of history (e.g., dispenses particular historical facts, puts you in communication with the dead, provides you with access to primary or secondary sources, etc.)

At this stage, don’t worry too much about practicality. Have fun imagining something that would be really cool to have. Bring your idea to class to share with everyone else.

In Class

In class we are going to start by discussing everyone’s history appliance ideas. Then we will break up into individuals or small groups to start working on the final project designs. I want to go around the class and discuss everyone’s ideas with them. The emphasis at this stage is on exploring as many ideas as possible, rather than trying to weed out the things that won’t work.