Economics Lesson: The Real McCoy
© Wendy Towle, Scholastic, Inc., Lesson by Mary Suiter
1998 SPEC Publishers, Inc., 1006 Regency Manor Drive, Ballwin, MO 63011, Telephone 314-891-0043.
For classroom use only; other reproduction is prohibited without written permission from SPEC Publishers, Inc. From Economics and Children's Literature--Supplement 2
(order form) Lesson Synopsis
Elijah McCoy was an African-American inventor who successfully designed an automatic oil cup that may have inspired the popular phrase, "the real McCoy."
Content Standards and Benchmarks
Economics: increasing productivity, patent
Language Arts: comprehension, writing paragraphs
3. Read The Real McCoy to the class or assign the book to be readPost Reading
4. Discuss:a. What was an oilman/fireman's job? (to shovel coal in the firebox and oil parts of the train)5. Explain that a patent is an official document issued by the U.S. government granting the exclusive right to an invention. People may also acquire a trademark for product names and logos to prevent others from using them.
Closure and Assessment
9. Ask students to brainstorm common problems they or their families have which could be solved with some type of simple invention. List problems on the board, such as keeping track of remote controls, pencils, pens, keys; not having paper and pencil near the phone for messages; and watering houseplants while on vacation.
11. Assign other expressions for students to research: the whole ball of wax, the cat's pajamas, mad as a hatter, sly as a fox, and smart as a whip.
12. People often use brand names to describe a category of products. For example, we ask for a "Coke" even though we may really mean any cola drink. Ask students to make a list of other examples. (We call all cotton swabs "Q-tips," all copy machines "Xerox" all tissues "Kleenex.") Create a bulletin board to illustrate the difference between generic terms and brand names.