Cool Inventions


The inventor of the snowmobile, a French Canadian named Bombardier, inspires creativity! Construct inventions with recycled materials.


1. What do you think was going on in the mind of 15-year-old Joseph-Armand Bombardier that inspired him to combine a sled, wooden propeller, and an engine from a Model T Ford? In the early 1920s, he put these parts together to make a vehicle that could travel quickly over snow. A French Canadian, Bombardier lived in the country, where there were no snowploughs. To go anywhere in winter, people had to take a horse-drawn sleigh or walk in snowshoes. So Bombardier knew first-hand that there was a great need for fast, snowy transport.

2. The first auto-neige (snowmobile) was an experiment. Afterwards, Armand took various jobs and courses to learn more to make his invention a success. Research all the different components that Bombardier invented to make his snowmobile able to move forward and backward over the snow. These include a sprocket wheel track system with belts and ski runners.

3. Discuss what prompts people to invent things. Is it luck? A strong need? What role does location play? Research the origins of some inventions that you think are important.

4. With Crayola® Colored Pencils, write down notes about things that you believe need to be invented. Draft a rough sketch of your invention. Collect recycled and collage materials such as boxes, cardboard rolls, and buttons.

5. Use Crayola School Glue and Scissors to transform these items into a model of your invention. Show as many details as you can. Make working parts if possible. Dry.

6. Cover your art area with newspaper. Paint sections of your invention with Crayola Tempera and Paint Brushes. Dry.

7. Highlight parts of your invention with Crayola Gel Markers.

8. Stage an exhibition or give a presentation of your invention. Describe why you invented it, how it works, and what it does.

Safety Guidelines

Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.

Crayola Washable Paints—Not for use as body/face paint.

Recycled Cardboard Tubes—Use paper towel tubes, gift-wrap tubes, or long cardboard tubes that can be cut to any length. Health professionals caution against using recycled toilet paper tubes for arts & crafts projects because of the potential fecal contamination.

Scissors—ATTENTION: The cutting edges of scissors are sharp and care should be taken whenever cutting or handling. Blunt-tip scissors should be used only by children 4 years and older. Pointed-tip scissors should be used only by children 6 years and older.

Wood—By its nature, wood is rough and may contain splinters or sharp points


  • When Bombardier needed more power to run his shop, he built a dam and a turbine to get what he needed. Collect other stories about people who take the initiative to make things happen.
  • Older students research the phenomena of invention synchronicity (when two or more people are developing an idea at the same time in different parts of the world). While Bombardier was working in Canada, Carl Eliason in the United States was building a snowmobile using a toboggan.
  • Research invention competitions and submit student inventions.
  • Study the legal process of making an idea into a reality. Find out what a patent is and how copyrights protect ideas.
  • An invention’s name can make or break a new idea. Bombardier planned on calling his recreational snowmobile a Ski-Dog but because of a typo in the promotional material it became known as a Ski-Doo. Would it be as popular a sport if it still had its original name? In a group come up with several different names for your inventions. Learn more about what makes a good brand name.

Related Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

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crayola supplies
  • Paint Brushes
  • Colored Pencils
  • Gel Markers
  • Artista II® Washable Tempera Paint
  • No-Run School Glue
  • Pointed Tip Scissors
  • Construction Paper
household supplies
  • recycled newspaper
  • recycled boxes
  • craft sticks
  • paper towels
  • collage materials
  • container(s) of water
  • recycled gift wrap or paper towel roll



  • Grades 4 to 6
  • Grades 7 to 12


  • Science
  • Social Studies


  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Multiple Sessions


  • Students explore inventions and inventors, focusing on the French-Canadian inventor of the snowmobile, Joseph-Armand Bombardier.

  • Children brainstorm a list of inventions still to be created.

  • Students fabricate their own invention from recycled materials.


Research Canada Standards
Research UK Standards
Research U.S. Standards