Tinkering Fundamentals: A Constructionist Approach to STEM Learning

Tinkering activities provide a powerful way to inspire students' interest, engagement, and understanding in science. The Tinkering Fundamentals course will help educators and enthusiasts develop a practice of tinkering and making. This course will focus on key design elements of high-quality, science-rich tinkering activities, effective facilitation strategies and environmental organization.

About The Course

The Tinkering Fundamentals course will offer educators and enthusiasts an opportunity to develop a practice of tinkering and making.  We see tinkering as a serious endeavor -- one that is generalizable across content and especially good at interweaving disciplines in a way that leads to complex projects and individualized learning opportunities.  

Tinkering has recently been introduced into the educational field as a potential driver of creativity, excitement, and innovation in science learning. It is seen by many as an effective means to engage in exploring STEM concepts, practices and phenomena. Tinkering typically blends the high and low tech tools of science along with a strong aesthetic dimension that supports children's (and adults) self expression.  For over a decade, the Exploratorium has been developing science-rich tinkering activities. Working with learning scientists, we have identified a set of design principles and indicators of learning that can help you to integrate tinkering activities into your elementary and middle school science programs. This course will focus on key design elements of high quality science-rich tinkering activities, facilitation strategies, and environmental organization. Selected  tinkering activities will be centered around circuits for this course.  We will review the ways in which tinkering supports science learning through providing opportunities to deepen engagement, intentionality, innovation, collaboration, and understanding. This course will excite you, inspire you, and get you tinkering in no time.

Recommended Background

This course is appropriate for anyone interested in incorporating tinkering activities into their educational programs. No prior knowledge is required.