Sparklab- Design a Superhero Costume

913

2

Introduction: Sparklab- Design a Superhero Costume

About: Spark!Lab is a hands -on invention studio in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. Spark!Lab activities communicate that invention is a process, rather than a single “Aha!” moment; provide vi…

Welcome to Spark!Lab digital. This is an online invention space where you get to be an inventor. There are no wrong answers, and you can create an invention using the pieces provided — or create some pieces of your own. Think like an inventor: how does your design solve a problem?

Design a Superhero Costume with these virtual materials or create your own parts and pieces. Using Tinkercad, you can delete, reshape, duplicate and create new parts.

Supplies

  • Free Tinkercad account
  • Inventive creativity
  • "Design a Stadium" parts from Spark!Lab's Tinkercad designs


Invention is a Process

There are just two things to keep in mind as you design your stadium:

1. The invention process is not always linear, but inventors engage in these steps in some form or another:

"Think it" : Have a great idea for an invention.

"Explore it": Investigate inventions and ideas of the past.

"Sketch it": Draw pictures and diagrams to figure out how your invention might work.

"Create It": Build a prototype or model of your idea.

"Try It": Test your invention.

"Tweak It": Keep improving your idea.

"Sell It": Market your invention to people who might buy it.

2. We also know, everyone is inventive- and we do mean everyone! Today, you become the inventor. You will try new ideas, take risks, and learn how to keep going when things don’t go as planned.

Design a Superhero Costume

Step 1: Invention Is a Process

There are just two things to keep in mind as you create a superhero costume:

1. The invention process is not always linear, but inventors engage in these steps in some form or another:

  • Think it: Have a great idea for an invention.
  • Explore it: Investigate inventions and ideas of the past.
  • Sketch it: Draw pictures and diagrams to figure out how your invention might work.
  • Create it: Build a prototype or model of your idea.
  • Try it: Test your invention.
  • Tweak it: Keep improving your idea.
  • Sell it: Market your invention to people who might buy it.

2. We also know everyone is inventive — and we do mean everyone! Today, you become the inventor. You will try new ideas, take risks, and learn how to keep going when things don’t go as planned.

Step 2: Think It

The first step of the invention process is to "think it," meaning to identify a problem you would like to solve, or something you will create and begin to imagine your solution.

What is the problem you are trying to solve or what are you trying to create?

When you create a superhero, what will they look like? What will they stand for? How will their look and costume reflect what they stand for?

Step 3: Explore It

The next step of the invention process is to "explore it.” Inventors ask: “How have inventors solved this problem or explored this design in the past?” and then conduct research to learn more about the problem they want to solve or to understand solutions that already may exist. They learn from what others have already tried and make sure that their solutions are new or different.

Some of the most popular objects in the Smithsonian's collection are costumes. These costumes are often connected to iconic characters or films. But we do not need to star in a movie to have a great costume. Play, particularly with costumes, can allow us to step beyond ourselves and become a part of anything we imagine.

See some of the costumes and comics that are part of the Smithsonian's collection.

Visit the National Museum of American History's online Superheroes exhibit

Click here to listen to Julian Chambliss, Ph.D., speak about the history and origins of how the first superheroes came to be.

Click here to watch the Comic Book Superheroes Unmasked (Documentary).

Step 4: Sketch It

Inventors use sketching as a way to organize their ideas.

Drawing an idea allows inventors to imagine what their invention might look like and how it will work. Try sketching out your invention before building! Take some time to sketch your ideas, images, and thoughts about your superhero costume.

You can sketch your ideas with paper and pencil, or you can try using a digital format. Remember! Inventors rarely get it right on the first try. Whatever the method, you may need to erase and re-draw your invention as you continue to think through how you want to solve the problem.

Click here to learn more about inventors' sketches in the Smithsonian Collection.

Step 5: Create It

Now it is time to build a prototype of your invention idea. In this step, inventors get to see their idea turn into something real. Building or designing a model can also help you learn about any issues there are with their invention design. Your prototype will show the style, shape, and design of your superhero costume.

How can you use these virtual materials to design a superhero costume? What will your costume look like? What will be your heroes super powers?

Click here to go to the Tinkercad site where you can begin designing your superhero costume.


Once you have created your design, move on to the Try It step.

Design a Superhero Costume

Step 6: Try It

Now that you have created your 3D model, take some time to imagine how your costume looks and how it would work for your superhero.

  • What are the colors used in your costume?
  • Does your costume keep the identity of the superhero a secret?
  • Does your costume add to the super powers of your hero?
  • Are there any weaknesses in your superhero that the costume helps protect against?
  • Who does your superhero help?
  • Where will your superhero live?
  • Is your superhero someone else in their everyday life?

Share your 3D model and ideas with others. Ask them for their input about your design.

  • What did they like best about your design?
  • What did they think needed improving?
  • What new ideas did you get by sharing your idea with them?


Step 7: Tweak It

Now that you’ve designed your superhero costume, thought about how it would look, how it might work, and shared your idea with others, it’s time to tweak your invention! Now is the time to ask yourself, "What changes can I make to improve my costume?”

Inventors typically don't succeed with an invention on the first try. Inventors make changes to their prototypes to make them work better. Usually, they tweak their idea many times before it is finished. Once tweaks are made, inventors test their inventions again. It can take many tries to get it right.

Go back to your design in Tinkercad and tweak it to make it easier to use.

Step 8: Share It

Sharing your idea is not only about putting it up for sale. Sharing an idea often happens when you tell others about your idea after you have made your final tweaks.

Tell us about your invention on social media!

  • Who will use your invention?
  • What makes your invention unique?
  • How does your invention work?

Follow us on Instagram and Twitter at @si_invention or Facebook@lemelsoncenter and use the hashtag #sparklab on your posts.

Be the First to Share

    Recommendations

    • Cold Challenge

      Cold Challenge
    • Clocks Contest

      Clocks Contest
    • Game Design: Student Design Challenge

      Game Design: Student Design Challenge

    Comments