Activity 4: Build a Model

Designs are never perfect when you build them for the first time. You have already drawn the design of your invention. Now you will build your design using tools and materials in your Invention Box. Once you build your design, test it. Ask your family for feedback. Redesign and rebuild it. Test it again. Seek feedback again. This is called an iterative design process.

Build A “Looks Like” Model

Now it’s time to bring designs of your ideas to life by building a model of your invention. Grab your Invention Box and let’s build a model. Remember, it will not be perfect the first time. It might not be perfect the second or third time, either. You might want to take a few days off after building your first model and come back another day to improve it.

Happy student

Invention is a Process!

We start with finding good problems to solve. We then research the problems. This is followed by designing solutions. We can draw what we want our solutions to look like and make models to show what we want them to do. We will make working prototypes, but there is a lot of inventing to do before we ever make working prototypes. The image below is the invention process. Do you notice that it is a cycle and that the arrows keep going around and around? Your invention will go through this cycle. Your design will be built and tested to be sure that it meets the needs of the user—the person or group of people who will benefit from your useful and unique idea.

Invention cycle: find and define problems, inquire & research, design, build & test

Eventually, you will have a working prototype of an invention that you have designed and tested many times. You may want to submit your invention to a competition. Competitions ask you to describe your invention. Write a script about your invention and memorize it. You won’t have to think too hard when someone asks you to explain your invention if you have your invention statement memorized!

Invention worksheet with hints

Jaylyne and Selah’s Invention: Track Mobile

Check out this example from two fifth graders in Cambridge, MA. They followed the invention process to create Track Mobile, an app to help people find their lost hearing aids.

  1. Find and Define the Problem: People who wear hearing aids sometimes lose their hearing aids and have trouble finding them.
  2. Inquire and Research: We read El Deafo and spoke to our friend, Brian, who wears hearing aids. He told us that hearing aids are easily lost.
  3. Design Drawing:

invention design drawing

Jaylyne and Selah’s “Looks Like” Model of Their Invention: Track Mobile

Invention looks like model

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