Getting a Tinkering Education

Tinkering, it’s the new rage in classroom education. STEM teachers are being taught to encourage elementary and middle school students how to tinker around with mechanical objects.

Why that’s just silliness you say. Don’t all kids take things apart and put them back together? It’s the American way.

There once was an era when we did. But along came portable music and game machines. Now kids have earbuds stuck in their ears and joysticks in hand. They recede into the artificial world powered by these devices.

Truth is, America has changed. Demographic data show more people lived in American cities than in rural areas beginning in 2011. Tinkering space, like barns and garages, disappeared in cramped city quarters.

So we have to develop a new generation of gearheads. Why? To roll molecules into place and build biomechanical wonders.

We begin again building a nation of people committed to freedom, one tool at a time, one child at a time. The kitchen table is our workbench. Ready, set, earbuds in, can you make that gear rock?

Download the free Cardboard Automata project instructions (PDF from Tinkering Studio at Exploratorium).

Make a simple machine from cardboard and other easy to gather household items. Project demonstrates gear and lever principles: up and down, round and round, side to side.

It’s a cheap, easy way to prototype, refine, and reinvent.

Let’s start remaking things! Build hands on mechanical skills. Re-see the world around us. Strive to make it better.