Lesson Twelve

This lesson looks at inventions and digital design.


An invention is a new thing that is made in order to solve a problem. For instance, Thomas Edison and his team of researchers invented the first lightbulb between 1878 and 1880 to solve the problem of lighting homes at night. In 1939, Russell Ohl invented the solar cell that is now used in many modern solar panels.

As a class, imagine that you work for a large technology company that creates devices that collect data and are connected to the internet. What problems could your company solve with these devices? For example:

  • Providing information about a water source or power supply.

  • Helping children who live in rural areas with their schooling.

  • Assisting people with disabilities with their day-to-day lives.

Split into small groups and pick one idea from your list. Write down what data your device would collect and who would be able to access this data. How can you make the device safe and secure for the people using it?


Once you have a good idea for your new device, draw up some designs for the device. Think about:

  • What does it look like?

  • How easy is it to use?

  • How does it function?

  • How much will it cost to make?

  • Who will make the device? (What jobs will they have?)

Digital design

When showing people how your want your design to work, it can be helpful to have a model. We can draw a picture of our design on the computer and use Scratch to show how things like sensors will work.

These instructions demonstrate how to create a Scratch model of the Electric Garden. Can you create a Scratch model of your own design?