Hotlinks 2

To make it easier for you to read our books Fostering Inventiveness in Children and Invention Friday Curriculum: Grades 2-5, we have put all hotlinks on the web pages Hotlinks 1 and Hotlinks 2, so you can click as you read. This web page is entitled Hotlinks 2 and contains all links for Invention Friday Curriculum: Grades 2-5.  

[Please note that in the few cases that the links are no longer available, we recommend new ones.]

2nd book cover final proofInvention Friday Curriculum: Grades 2-5

Authors’ note

Science Friday

Talking circle

SECTION I: The Nature of Invention

Section I.1: What is Invention?

Multipocket folder

Lesson I.1a: Windshield wipers and bubblegum

Connecticut Invention Convention

Tesla electric car

Lesson I.1b: Progression of inventions

Multipocket folder

How people with disabilities have embraced the Segway

Lesson I.1c: Creating a 3-dimensional invention

no links

Lesson I.1d: What inventions do we use most often?

no links

Lesson I.1e: Who are the inventors behind these inventions?

no links

SECTION I.2: Young inventors

Lesson I.2a: Children can invent

no links

Lesson I.2b: What have young people invented?

Various Internet websites feature stories of inventions by young people:

Items that the students are likely to find:

Section I.3: What makes an invention really good?

Lesson I.3a: Improving and ruining a good invention

no links

Lesson I.3b: Let’s take things apart

Make a Clock Kit

Lesson I.3c: Great inventions come from failure

inventions that have been made through mistakes:

Section I Celebration party

no links

Further reading and additional activities

The Smithsonian Institution offers a series of podcast interviews with inventors complete with a Podcast Activity Guide for working with students interested in invention. [Please note that Smithsonian Institution redesigned their website, so these particular links not longer exist. However, we recommend trying some comparable sites by the Smithsonian: Encouraging Innovative Thinking and by Lemelson: Multimedia]

For advanced students … the Lemelson Center’s short podcasts on inventors. [Also no longer available, but we recommend the Lemelson Center’s Invention Stories]

On Dean Kamen and the Segway … a short biography and video of Dean Kamen and his inventions. [Also see Dean Kamen on Ted Talks]

Books about inventions by young people

no links

On Internet websites helpful in clock reassembly

SECTION II: Thinking Outside the Box
Section II.1: Playing with the nature of invention


Lesson II.1a: Invention combinations


2. Encourage the students to brainstorm about combinations … Examples are:

  • Spork—a combination fork on one end with a spoon on the other
  • Spife—a combination spoon and knife

Lesson II.Ib: Creating dinosaur figure combinations

no links

Lesson II.1c: Turning shapes into inventions


Also put out piles of self-sticking geometric foam shapes

Lesson II.Id: Creating a nuts and bolts masterpiece

For example, Artist Steve Appel’s nuts and bolts sculptures

Lesson II.1e: Combination of processes


Get … The way things go by Fischli & Weiss (1987)… or show … 30-minute YouTube podcast [The 30-minute podcast was removed and replaced by a 3-minute podcast]

Lesson II.1f: Combination of sounds

In Preparation and Process

YouTube podcast: Let’s all play our drum by Kalani Das

Lesson II.Ig: Alternative use contraptions

no links

Lesson II.Ih: Becoming a Rube Goldberg inventor

Please note that Rube does sponsor an annual competition for young people from middle school on.

Lesson II.Ih.1: Studying Rube Goldberg inventions


Lesson II.Ih.2: Planning a Rube Goldberg invention

no links

Lesson II.Ih.3: Sketching a Rube Goldberg invention

no links

Lesson II.Ih.4: Building Rube Goldberg inventions

no links

Section II Celebration party

no links

Further reading

On the patent dispute for the laser

Taylor, N. (2000). Book Review: Laser: The Inventor, the Nobel Laureate, and the Thirty-Year Patent War. Salon Magazine online

For more on how to use shapes to create

The Internet has a fair number of books, explanations, and short videos on drawing sketches using basic shapes. For example, see the 1:35 minute video entitled, Using shapes to draw a penguin. [This web page no longer exists, but there is an even better website using shapes to draw at:

SECTION III: Learning the Process of Invention


Section III.1: Best Practices in keeping an inventors log


For patenting inventions, the US Patent law operates according to the “first to invent” rule versus the “first to file” … [Please note that this changed effective March 2013, when the America Invents Act changed the patent law to “first to file.” Please see the NY times article, “Business owners adjusting to overhaul of Patent System.”]

Lesson III.1a Starting your inventor log

Here is a story that you might read to the young inventors about how Mattie Knight

Section III.2: Developing skills in problem-finding

The exercises in this set of lessons are based on techniques that design firms like IDEO …

At some point an inventor spotting the inefficiency in the process and invented a lettuce spinner

Lesson III.2a: Problem-finding: Spotting big bugs


Lesson III.2b: Problem-finding: Things that bug me

no links

Lesson III.2c: Problem-finding: Interviewing each other for big bugs

no links

Lesson III.2d: Problem-finding: Things that bug adults

no links

Lesson III.2e: Selecting the big bugs

no links

Section III Celebration party

no links

Further reading and additional activities

no links

For more on inventor logs

US Patent and Trade Office i-CREATM intermediate curriculum

SECTION IV: Brainstorming and prototyping

See “Advance your solution through prototyping” for more information.

Section IV.1: Exploring the big bugs

no links

Lesson IV.1a: Transforming problem-finding into probortunity

One company, Infinite Innovations Ltd, offers a website on brainstorming techniques. In their list of terms, they offer the word “probortunity” to underscore how within a problem is often an excellent opportunity.

Lesson IV.1b: Solution-finding with S-C-A-M-P-E-R

no links

Lesson IV.1c: Imagining, visualizing and sketching solutions

no links

Lesson IV.1d: Preparing a materials list

no links

Section IV Celebration party

no links

Further reading

On brainstorming

US Patent and Trade Office i-CREATM intermediate curriculum

On probortunity

See Infinite Innovations Ltd

On S-C-A-M-P-E-R

According to the Creative Advantage website, Alex Osborn originally developed the list of S-C-A-M-P-E-R questions, which was later transformed by Bob Eberle into a mnemonic. S-C-A-M-P-E-R is a popular technique. Easily accessible examples are:

On prototyping

Boyle, B. (2007). Ideas aren’t cheap: Promoting the serious business of play: Better brainstorming is the key to innovation. ABC News on line, June 28th.

SECTION V: Building Your Invention

Putting On the Invention Fair

Two ideas that were inspired by the Connecticut Invention Convention to reward the young inventors…

Further reading

For more on putting on science fairs

Lautz, S. (2001). “What are the steps in setting up a successful science fair?”… [The Handbook is no longer available.  However, Lautz has created a website: Also see Diane Weaver Dunne’s 2000 Website: How to Put On a Great Science Fair!]

Teachers might want to anticipate …


Back to our home page

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s