Spark!Lab activities are designed around common themes, which connect with NMAH collections and exhibitions. Themes and activities change on a regular basis, so check the Lemelson Center’s website for current Spark!Lab activities.
Your group can start anywhere!
The purple signs at each station provide a prompt and historical information to help your group understand the task at hand.
The materials to invent a solution to the challenge are provided.
The materials for each activity station should be left at that station when your group is finished inventing.
Ask a facilitator if you have questions about how to get started or need assistance.
THE HUB "MAKE AND TAKE" STATION*
The central tables in The Hub the “make and take” station offer students various materials to create their very own prototype based around the theme.
Students can sketch their own inventions that address the provided prompts.
Students are invited to take their invention with them or leave it on display in Spark!Lab.
Supplies and equipment other than the students’ inventions must remain in Spark!Lab.
*Activities in Spark!Lab are subject to change at any time due to anticipated visitor attendance and general maintenance. The Hub may be simplified or absent during your visit. Please check out "The Hub Challenge" link in the black box for an in-class Spark!Lab activity. You can also explore the "DO Try This at Home" section of this website for fun invention ideas to try in the classroom or at home.
THE THINKING SPOT
Students can browse books to explore invention processes, learn about a diverse group of inventors, and be inspired by invention ideas.
Students can engage in self-guided activities by completing the challenges on the bookmarks.
Books are available for kids of all ages.
This is a great space for students who might want time to themselves.
SELL IT STATION
After sketching or creating their inventions, students can record a short video describing elements of the invention process used in designing their invention.
The videos can be submitted to Spark!Lab if the child is over the age of 13 or is accompanied by a guardian.
The videos are kept confidential and will not be used for promotional purposes.
SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE
While in Spark!Lab, share your experience with us on social media! Take a picture or video of your invention and use #SparkLab. (Please remind students not to write their Instagram or Snapchat handles anywhere in the space.)