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Hack Your Habits: Challenge Guide

by Chloe

Published on March 8, 2016

Create an invention to track your daily habits, then transform your invention to make your life better. How much use does your classroom’s recycling bin get? Maybe you could invent something to encourage people to use it more often! How many times a day do you have to go back to your locker because you forgot something? Maybe you could invent something that counts these trips and reminds you to grab what you need! Now’s your chance to use your inventing powers to get to the bottom of these types of questions and invent a gadget to make your everyday experience better.

Duration: 4 hrs (or more)

How To Make It


CREATE: Create a list of things you or your classmates do that you want to know more about. Maybe it’s a habit you’d like to improve on (how can I make fewer trips to my locker?), something you’re curious about (how many high fives can I get in a day?), or an issue you’d like to help other people understand (why don’t your classmates recycle?). Try to list as many different habits as possible.
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CREATE: Select the habit you want to learn more about. Is there one that makes you the most happy, passionate, or upset? It’s always good to work on something that means a lot to you.
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CREATE: Look through your Bits and materials and think about how each one could measure or track that habit. Could the button help you know when something is moved? Could the light sensor detect when something is opened?
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CREATE: Sketch out ideas, pick your favorite, and create a prototype of a data-collection machine. Don’t worry about getting everything right on the first try. The important thing is to just get started and experiment. Building a physical model of your idea will help you figure out the best way to track habits.
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PLAY: Test your prototype, then make a hypothesis about the results you will get. To get it working reliably, it will probably take a bit of adjusting and redesigning. Once you have it down, you can start tracking your life. For your first trial, decide how long you want to use the invention for. For example, if you’re tracking recycling bin use, how many times do you think it gets used daily? Soon you’ll have data to test your theory!
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REMIX: Did playing with your invention go the way you expected? Now’s your chance to experiment with fixes and improvements. Did it gather data well? Do you think it was accurate? Now that you know a little more about your circuit and the habit you’re exploring, you can tinker with the invention to make it work better. Think about how you can add new features to change people's habits. For example, could an invention that tracks use of the recycling bin also reward people for recycling? Would that make them more likely to recycle? Try it out and see if it changes your data.
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SHARE: Compare tracking information, then have someone else test it. Compare the tracking information from before and after you made the changes. Now you know more about how people behave and what motivates them. More importantly, you have the data to prove it! Create a poster that describes the habit you were studying and how your invention affected it.
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SHARE: Have someone else try your invention for the day. Do you think your invention could be useful elsewhere? Maybe another classroom wants to encourage recycling, or a friend wants to know what seats in the cafeteria are the most popular.


SHARE: Upload it to the Invent Page. Whichever way you decide to document or present your invention, don't forget to upload it to! It's a great way to deepen the impact of your invention and to inspire other community members.

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