[Activity 5] Time for Tinkering


Welcome to this week’s playful activity!

This week we encourage you to take time to tinker:

  • Choose a material or technology to playfully experiment with
  • Describe and share a picture of what you were tinkering with
  • Reflect on your tinkering process

Here are some questions to guide your reflections:

What were you tinkering with? Did you feel like you were able to playfully explore and experiment?
What did you notice? Did you try anything new or different? What might you want to try next?

Looking forward to hear from you!

P.S. The Tinkering Studio website has some project ideas, if you are looking for inspiration!

A version of this post is also available in Italiano, Português, Español, 日本語 (Japanese), עברית (Hebrew)

listed #2


I am creating a page for the whole month of learning focused on dc motors and circuits.

Check it out. I have many schools in my area using the ideas to create their own


I am tinkering with a granola bar recipe. Home made granola bars should be cheaper than store bought, and a healthier snack than chocolate chips.

I started with this recipe:

I learned that it’s easy to make something very like caramel in the microwave oven. Afraid I would end up skipping the granola and just eating the caramel, I found another recipe which uses dates to stick the oats together:

I’m using peanut butter in place of almond butter, because I had an unopened jar of the stuff in my cabinet. And cranberries in place of chocolate chips because maybe that’s healthier. Also, I like the fruity taste. Adding a little powdered ginger, some coconut, and a little molasses doesn’t affect the flavor much. Switching from chopped to halved pecans makes the bars more crumbly. Trying to mix the honey, peanut butter, and dates in the food processor nearly broke the food processor.


Justo esta semana iniciamos clases en Panamá, pues actualmente estoy dando robótica educativa, es super reto para mi por que por primera vez trabajare con niños tan pequeño de prescolar hasta sexto grado de primaria.

Esta semana fue mostrarle a los chicos todo lo que podrán aprender y como lo vamos a ir viendo la idea que ellos utilicen su imaginación y creen no solo lo vean como robótica, si no como un mundo de cosas que pueden crear y despertaran su interés.

Como no sabia como hacer con los peques del grupo realice un disfras los peques se lo ponían ellos le decían a sus compañeros que hacer, lo estaban programando de verdad me encanto como los chicos a través del juego aprendieron concetos como programar, sensores, temas de direcciones al frente, izquierda y derecha.

Me encanto de verdad estaba super preocupada no poder lograrlo aun queda mucho trabajo por hacer, creo que con mucha imaginacion sus buenos consejos y ejemplos podre lograrlo.
Les dejo mi creación jejejjejeje

También a nivel personal realice esta joyería me parece perfecta dictar taller como reciclar tus componentes viejos de placas o dispositivos a chicas que le guste esto cosas diferente y tecnologías


Gracias por la oportunidad Sara Peña.


Hi all,
Im tinkering with flights(aeromodelling).Flight is the process by which an object moves through an atmosphere (or beyond it, as in the case of spaceflight) without contact with the surface.It can be of motorised and non motorised.
Here I have done with non-motorised flights.I made this flight with help of balsa wood.Balsa wood is the very light wood imported from germany.
The air on the upper surface on the wing is pushed downwards following theshape of the wing. So applying newtons third law of motion “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction,” if the wing pushed the air downwards, the air will apply an equal and opposite reaction and push the wing upwards and produce lift.
Here are the image of my models


Thank you for sharing! I hadn’t thought about iterations associated with recipes when thinking about this prompt. What a great approach. I’ve shared your project with my son, who (I now realize) “tinkers” in the kitchen daily. He’s going to add granola bars to his ever-growing list of recipes to experiment with. Thanks, as well, for the head’s up on the food processor. :slight_smile:


The quotation I selected for purposes of our discussion inspired me to want to develop some sort of ice-breaker activity that might help students approach a new course with an open mind, a willingness to both self-reflect and learn more about their own learning preferences (with an awareness that this is often fluid), and, at the same time, a willingness to “reach outside their comfort zone”.

I had selected the following passage, and shared an interaction where student preferences for videos were noted:

 “How can we develop technologies, activities, and courses that engage and support all different types of learners? At the same time, we should push learners to reach outside their comfort zone. For certain types of problems, planning has advantages over tinkering; for other types of problems, tinkering has advantages. Exploring patterns is particularly helpful in some situations; telling stories is particularly helpful in other situations. Even if an individual learner is more comfortable with one style over another, it’s useful to experiment with other styles and approaches.”

As I thought more about the students’ expressed desire for video content, I realized that while students can (and should feel free to) ask for videos if that is what they enjoy, I also want them to also ask themselves if that is how they learn best. The answer might be the same. But it also might be different. Similarly, I want them to develop their self-awareness of the benefits associated with taking a flexible, context-dependent approach to their own learning.

So, I was trying to think of a tinkering type exercise that might support this goal. (The students I am thinking of in this context are college-aged, EFL students studying business management at a female university in East Africa) I decided to work on some activities for a course designed to teach students how to start a new venture in East Africa.

My selected materials include: paper, toothpicks, tape, scissors, pipe-cleaners, straws

The exercise (still very rough and in note/outline format) might go something like the following:

Share the first thing that comes to mind when we use the word venture.
Use the provided materials to construct the physical place your venture will exist (or a structure related to your venture)
Once you have your initial structure constructed, think about what else it might need: supports, funding, partners, an address (for mail), a bank account (for financial transactions), etc., multiple buildings spread out over town, one single building where everyone can collaborate, what else? Generate questions
Examples: a coffee shop will look very different from an agri-business, from a tutoring initiative, from a tech initiative…
Goal - take the notion of a venture from the abstract to the concrete. A work in progress, with many moving parts. Tinker with the project. Plan ahead when can, expect to iterate. Also want to help students recognize that ventures can take innumerable forms.
A simultaneous goal - use the physical, concrete nature of the tinkering project to support and encourage more abstract thinking about the various types of ventures that might be possible

Thanks for reading this far. I realize this probably isn’t what you had in mind for this exercise, but I’ve found it useful and I appreciate the opportunity to think out loud in this community.


creating a circuit to play by Scratch


Thanks! I hope you enjoy the results of your son’s tinkering.


I played with a few technologies and extensions in ScratchX. First, I practiced using this Arduino extension to connect Scratch with Arduino. After using a Scratch slider to control the tempo of a blinking LED, I set up an analog potentiometer to control variables in Scratch. As a teacher I’m happy to be able to pair these two things.

Then I briefly checked out the Spotify extension and the weather extension. I had been looking forward to the weather extension and was disappointed that I couldn’t get it to work. Then I rounded out play time by remixing and aesthetically changing a WeDo flight simulator I built some time ago.

Some observations about the playful tinkering:

  1. By chance I had to buy a new board for the Arduino work, and I decided to think of it as a “toy” board. This helped me to not worry about making mistakes with the equipment.
  2. For every nine things that went well, there would be one setback, and the setbacks consumed most of my play time. It was helpful to acknowledge the successes as well and to find some satisfaction in them (although significance seems to be found in the struggles).
  3. Re-mixing really encourages a prototyping mindset.


When craft and electronics goes hand in hand !!! Its an origami puppy with a sparkling little nose…


Hi all,
I played with papers colours etc…, Crafts such as coloring, drawing, cutting, all thinks will make me to think as child . In order to draw shapes, cut patterns, and joining together to form some shapes make me very happy.


Hi all,
I tried a thermally powered flower and taught it to my Grade 4 children. It was an interesting activity and children were eager to learn the science behind it. They learned about
How the hot air rises up and causes the petals of the flower to rotate?



Hi Everyone,

I was tinkering with an arduino uno board. I have used a breadboard, an IR sensor and a Servo motor. The objective was to switch on the servo motor when the IR sensor detects an obstacle and by default the motor was off. I used S4A(Scratch for Arduino) to program the board.


Hi all,
I was tinkering about hydraulic mechanism.I tried some working model of projects like engineering projects without using motor, sensor and Arduino Board . Here I was used only cardboard , Syringe and sticks for my projects(under Hydraulics mechanism).I hope you all like it.


Very cool! Great to have videos walking people through the process! The LCL team loves making scribblebots - have others tried tinkering with this?

The in-person LCL class at MIT tinkered with scribblebots a couple weeks ago - here are some photos! :smile:

We like setting up tinkering activities with a lot of fun materials in the center of the room - including the basics (DC motors, batteries, some kind of materials - like glue sticks - as a weight on the motor arm; in addition to egg cartons, cups, etc. for the main body); but also lots of fun craft materials (feathers, balloons, googly eyes, random things!) to spark ideas.


Looks delicious, Heidi!!So excited to see some culinary tinkering :slight_smile:


So creative! Very cool jewelry idea! Thank you for sharing!


Hi Enitha! Sounds interesting, do you have any pictures we could see?