Illuminating Invention Workshop Guide

We designed this challenge and workshop guide for beginner inventors, mentors, and educators. If you have never participated in a challenge before and you need some support or want some inspiration, this is the guide for you!

Middle School (ages 11-13)
Elementary (ages 8-10)
High School (ages 14-17)


littleBits Basics
General Education
Makerspace Workshops

Participants will use the Invention Cycle to design and build an invention that uses light in an functional, expressive, and/or aesthetic way.

Learning Goals
Learners will…
– Test and evaluate how light interacts with different types of materials.
– Create a functioning circuit that controls and emits light.
– Design a lamp or light sculpture that solves a problem either functional, aesthetic, or expressive.
– Give and receive constructive verbal feedback while testing their inventions.
– Write an instruction set for creating their lamp or illuminated object.
– Film a short movie using digital media tools to document their process and/or final product.

– Full lesson here
– Quick Start Slide Deck (The Invention Cycle step-by-step)
– Trailer
– Inspiration with videos + links to projects
– littleBits Invention Inspiration Cards
– Mini-Challenge Cards

Here are some suggestions for adapting the activities below to best fit your needs. We designed it to be “hacked” so you can adapt it to your own learning space. Each activity can be shortened or eliminated to meet your personal time constraints.

3 x 50 minute in class sessions
Day 1:
– Warmup: What if…(5 min)
– Introduction: Agenda + Community Code (5 min), What are littleBits? (5 min)
– Mini-lesson: Setup (2 min), Activity (5 min), Reflection (3 min)
– Create: The Challenge (5 min), Brainstorming (5 min), Make! (15 min – if you eliminate the mini-lesson, add the extra time here)
– Clean up (10 min)

Day 2:
– Introduction: Goals for session – Test + Make it better (5 min)
– Get Ready: Make any last minute fixes (5 min)
– Play: Testing your inventions (20 min)
– Remix: Make improvements (10 min)
– Clean up (10 min)

Day 3:
– Share: Show + Tell (10-15 min), Upload to the Invention Platform (15 min)
– Reflect (10 min)
– Clean up (10 min)

1 x 2-3 hr workshop session
– Warmup (5 min): What if…
– Introduction (7 min): Agenda, Community Code, What are littleBits?
– Create (45 – 90 min): Brainstorming, The Challenge, Make!
– Play (10 min): Test your invention
– Remix (15-20 min): Make Improvements, Upload to the Invention Platform
– Share (10 min): Present, Celebrate!
– Reflect (10-15 min)

Duration: 2-3 50 minute class periods OR one 2 hour long workshop