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Spark!Lab Invention Steps with Shopping Carts

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Science Age Level Primary (5 to 8 years old)

Explore Spark!Lab's invention steps through the process of a real inventor, Orla Watson, who changed grocery shopping for millions of people with his telescoping shopping cart. Then make your own cart with our final invention challenge! Click through each of the items below and be sure to read the information (i) sections


  • Understand the invention process by examining one specific invention 
  • Discover and critically analyze objects and primary sources from the National Museum of American History's archives and collection

The Draper Spark!Lab is a hands-on invention activity center housed at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. 

Spark!Lab Steps


Shopping before carts

Piggly Wiggly

Sylvan Goldman's cart

Oklahoma Stories

Think It Example

Orla Watson

Sketch it Example

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Create It Example

National Museum of American History

Try It Step


Tweak It Example

Orla Watson

Tweak It Example

Telescope Carts Inc.

Sell It Step


Patent Photo

Orla Watson

Sell It Example

Telescope Carts, Inc

Invention Challenge

Marie-Louise Orsini