Inventions, Part 1 – The Mindset List

We have all heard the stories from our parents and grandparents about how, when they were young, they had to “walk to school three miles in the snow uphill (both ways)” and that they didn’t have “these cell phones, we had to write letters to people (on the back of can labels).”  As funny as these hyperboles may be, they are based on a truth, and this truth helped to define the experience and mindset of the people who lived then.  We are all children of the times in which we live.

If only there was a way to better understand some of these specifics?  Well, thanks Beloit College, who publishes yearly MINDSET LIST.  This list shows each year, some of the environment in which a new college student to Beloit (18) developed.


  • Have students, in groups, look at sections from the list (10 – 15) items.
  • In these small groups, have students read them all together, and discuss why these would matter in helping to create a “mindset”.
  • Take for example the item, “Women have always outnumbered men in college.” What do you think this means  What do you think this does for a young woman’s perspective about their future?
  • You may have students (in groups) comment on 5 – 8 of the items on this list.
  • Have students write an entry about the item that they think most effects the way they live in the world.  We often ask them about past experience and history, but how does their current experience define them?



  • Have students make lists of the inventions, changes in culture, religion, everyday life, science, etc.  that they think they will see or would like to see in their lifetime.



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