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Invention Convention

Wk 3: Designing the Invention on Paper

Learning Outcomes: 
  • The learner will use a sketch as a plan for incorporating all his/her ideas for the invention.

  • The learner will prepare to create a list of needed materials by including all materials necessary in his/her drawing. 

  • Fourth Grade, English Language Arts, Goal 4, Objective 4.03 Make oral and written presentations using visual aids with an awareness of purpose and audience

  • National Science Education Standards

    • Kindergarten – Fourth Grade

      • Students will develop an understanding of the abilities of technological design.

  • By examining the “Design page” in the student’s Inventor’s Log, the teacher should be able to envision the invention the student wants to create. 

  • Working towards the next lesson of outlining materials, the student should be able to use their design the list all the materials necessary for their invention.  If a material is missing, the student should amend their sketch. 


In this lesson, students will take their selected invention and complete a “rough draft drawing.”  “Invention Convention” is an integrated project combining learning from language arts, science, and math curriculums allowing students to apply their understandings of magnets and electricity by designing or improving an existing invention.

Classroom Time Required: 

This lesson will require approximately twenty minutes for a whole group lesson and thirty to forty five minutes, depending on the student / invention, of independent working time.  This lesson can be divided into multiple sessions.


Materials Needed

  • Student Inventor’s Log

  • Pencils

  • Rulers

  • Colored pencils

  • Chart paper / market

  • Prior to this lesson, students should have completed “Invention Brainstorming” and “Conferencing with a Teacher.” 

  • The purpose of this lesson is for students to take their time and carefully create a sketch that will function as their “blueprint” for the rest of the invention design process.  While modeling, the teacher should emphasize including all parts and materials, as well as angles and shapes in the sketch.

  • The class will decide on an “invention” to sketch as a whole class.  The class may choose to draw one of the ideas they brainstormed in a previous lesson, or to model something new.  (Depending on the make up of the class, it may be helpful to use a student’s invention as a class model if that student will have particular difficulty sketching independently.  This student can help to lead the discussion and will have less work to complete independently.) 

  • If the class were to sketch an invention to trap falling pencil sharpener shavings, here are some aspects to consider:

    • How will the invention attach to the pencil sharpener?

    • What would allow the invention to be removed and reattached. 

    • What type of fabric / material will be used? 

    • What size should the fabric / material be?

  • The teacher will guide students to consider as many small details, as possible, to take into consideration with their “blueprint.” 

  • The teacher may want to remind students or revisit Alexander Graham Bell’s science notebook where he includes detailed sketches of his inventions and specific parts of his inventions.  The website is included below, and more information can be found in the “Logging Like an Inventor” lesson from Week 1 of Invention Convention.  

  • After modeling as a whole group, students will work independently to design their inventions.  The teacher will circulate challenging students to consider particular aspects of their inventions. 

  • Because the whole group lesson includes a visual drawing and because in previous lessons ELLs were provided with a picture, ELLs should be successful with this activity.  ELLs should have previously used resources available to them. 

Supplemental Files: