Invention Literacy Resources from Makey Makey and Strawbees

February 21, 2022

"Invention literacy is the ability to read and write human made stuff, from toasters to apps. People think inventors perform magic, but invention is no more magical than reading and writing a sentence. There is a grammar to inventing from mechanical tools, to design thinking, coding, and beyond. There is a literature of inventions, from bicycles to televisions, all around us to draw inspiration from. Just as Thoreau read Emerson’s writings, so too did Edison read Tesla’s inventions. The functional pieces of inventions: transistors, bent sheets of aluminum, a “for loop” in software, these are like a large alphabet. As one learns to “sound out the words” of inventing, one begins to see a product not as a “black box” but as a collection of comprehensible pieces which come together to make up a blender, a pair of Nikes, or a ferris wheel. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn would be incomprehensible to someone who doesn’t know the rules of reading English. "

Read more of Jay Silver's Invention Literacy article on Medium.

Watch our Webinar with Strawbees

In our latest webinar, we teamed up with Strawbees to explore the idea of invention literacy. Being invention literate means being able to look at the world around you, think about how things work, and imagine how they might work differently.

Watch the webinar above and check out new resources below to help hone one's ability to read and write human-made stuff, from toasters to apps!

New Resources for Invention Literacy

Make sure to check out the newly launched Strawbees Classroom - for lessons, activities, and ideas (with love toward Invention Literacy and Joylabz!)

Check out our free Invention Literacy Journal based on Colleen's Maker Research projects with students. 

 Download Invention Literacy Journal

More Resources on Invention Literacy

From Jay Silver:

From Erik Thorstensson at Strawbees

In the Public:


Teacher Created Materials by Colleen Graves: 

Other Articles: 


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