Teaching Through Tinkering

Posted on May 9, 2010  Comments (9)

I wrote about the Tinkering School, Engineering camp previously. I am a strong believer in the value of helping kids (even adult kids – the few that haven’t resigned themselves to limited capacity to wonder since they now are grown up and not suppose to waste their time dreaming) explore their ideas and assisting them in making those ideas into reality. I think this is the best way to learn, not learning to pass a test, but learning to gain knowledge and accomplish things. Here is a nice 15 minute talk by the founder of the Tinkering School, Gever Tulley: “Turning Curriculum Design On Its Head: Engage First Then Look for Learning Within”

The format of the tinkering school is week long sessions where the kids stay overnight.

Some quotes: “we would use real tools and real materials and we would build real things, not model building, [but instead] actual building.” “create a meaningful experience and learning will follow”

Gever Tulley recently published: Fifty Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do).

Related: Home Engineering: Building a HovercraftKids Need Adventurous PlayAutomatic Cat FeederScience Toys You Can Make With Your KidsWhat Kids can Learn

9 Responses to “Teaching Through Tinkering”

  1. Ben
    May 10th, 2010 @ 1:52 pm

    This is a cool approach to learning and for me defentitely embeds things more in a childs head than jsut going through the theory. It also demonstrates to them that a practical, iterative approach can solve things quickly and effectively. Its certainly an approach I use in business – phased, small burts of activity that iterate and evolve rather than going for big-bang. Great stuff.

    medical educator blog

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    May 12th, 2010 @ 10:18 am

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  3. Michael
    May 18th, 2010 @ 9:21 am

    When it comes to developing a strong foundation for logical thinking, I’ve always been a strong proponent of getting children started early. I think the idea of having this tinkering school overnight camp is a great idea. Kids are having fun while learning the fundamental critical and creative thinking components from an early age. Thanks for bringing this to our attention!


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    September 18th, 2010 @ 9:16 am

    […] I am a big believer in fostering kids natural desire to learn by teaching through tinkering. […]

  5. Maite Hospedaje
    October 4th, 2010 @ 5:42 pm

    Congratulations by your proposals and investigation! At the moment I want to make my thesis about the innovation and technology in education, very useful links!

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    July 1st, 2011 @ 7:23 am

    The maker movement is excellent. As the program suggests it also serves to show many people enjoy engineering and making things work…

  8. Elmar Kruithoff
    July 1st, 2011 @ 11:53 am

    Found this post a little late – and I think this approach is also needed in abstract or long-term issues like climate change as it builds relationship and commitment.

  9. Anonymous
    July 9th, 2011 @ 7:35 pm

    Actually getting your hands busy working on a project makes kids want to learn more. There is nothing worse then a dry paper teaching method to turn off the creativity of budding intellects. And nothing better then the ability to see something come together in reality. However, the removal of the paper and ink entirely will also leave students without the structure necessary to create something with the efficiency and accuracy necessary to manufacture something in the real world economy. One complements the other but the elimination of one can distort a young engineering mind.

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