Tinkering is the focused and purposeful investigation and experimentation of materials with the intent to learn, generate new ideas and expand thinking. Tinkering builds background knowledge and experiences that are directly tied to the tenets of engineering and the engineering design process: planning, building, making connections, design, observation, seeking pattens, improvement and sharing knowledge.
With that in mind, I developed classroom TinkerLabs. So far there are 16 TinkerLabs in our classroom ranging from tinkering with simple machines to using light to notice details and patterns to playing with color, design and pattern to create art. One example is the 'Earth Movers' lab...a favorite.
Each tinker lab has been put together in a plastic tub that includes all of the materials and card with the task, guiding questions and vocabulary.
Each lab was introduced during the first week of school and now we have 'TinkerLabs' a few times each week as part of our Engineering time.
Here are some pics of the kids at work...notice how engaged they are!
|Investigating the properties of sand, soil and rocks in the 'Earth Movers' Lab|
|Building a wagon in the 'Wheel and Axle' Lab|
|Investigating the attributes of different animals in the 'Grrrr-Animals' Lab|
|Planning, designing and building in the 'Domino Maze' Lab|
|Investigating details using animal x-rays in the 'Light It Up' Lab|
|Investigating pattern and color in the 'Light It Up' Lab|
|Using a microscope to notice details in the 'Take A Closer Look' Lab|
|Learning about color and shape while building in the 'Shadows' Lab|
|Experimenting with color and design in the 'Gears + Wheels = Art' Lab|
|Designing a catapult in the 'Lever' Lab|
|Using Legos to build animals and habitats in the 'Lego-Lands' Lab.|