How do you motivate kids to tinker with projects?


I think tinkering with projects is very important process in project-based-learning. While tinkering, kids can learn a lot, and get new ideas from it. But some kids don’t want to tinker. They want to know the answer quickly. How do you motivate kids to tinker with projects, especially when they have problems in their projects?


I’ve experienced robotics (FIRST LEGO League challenges) with the kids and it’s great!

In a challenging contest the boys and (especially) the girls can learn better and have a lot of fun getting new ideas in the projecting process.


Thank you for the info! I’ll check it.
What did you do when kids ask you for advice?
Did you give them advice?
Or just a hint?
Or just say “Think for yourself”?


All’inizio propongo attività guidate per dare la possibilità di imparare l’uso dei diversi blocchetti, successivamente invito loro a creare progetti attinenti a qualcosa che stanno svolgendo in classe, lasciando piena libertà al tipo di progetto. storia, gioco… con gli anni ho imparato che per loro è significativa un’attività quando richiama una loro esperienza. Una classe quarta l’anno scorso ha illustrato la loro visita allo zoo. Un’altra ha eseguito un’animazione di una gita ad Assisi. Attualmente una quinta mi stà preparando diversi progetti per spiegare il ciclo dell’acqua ai bambini delle classi inferiori.


Think, think, think


MANY kids don’t like to tinker because they are afraid to fail (a failing of our schools/world?) I tell them there is no right answer, that anything they do is right.
I ask them to solve a problem, or what invention they would like if they could have anything. It depends on the setting & tools, but asking questions usually eventually gets them interested and started on something.


I think we have to let them work with objects they are interested in.


I agree with you that tinkering is an important part of the process. I try to get my students to do this sometimes what it takes is giving them time to look at each other’s projects and commenting or giving each other feedback besides their own reflection time.

I also try the Ask 3 before me to get them to take more time thinking about what they want to do or asking their peers because that can help them go back and look at what they are doing.


I think is just a matter of having a lot of materials and objects available for students to play around with it and experience by themselves.


L’attività di richiamare la loro esperienza è una grande idea!
Grazie per aver condiviso!


Thank you all for your comments!
They inspire me a lot!!

I think some kids don’t like to tinker because tinkering process is not an easy way to get the answer.
It takes very long time and needs many trial and errors.

So they need PASSION and self confidence to overcome the difficulties in tinkering process.

Maybe we will discuss about that next week, I suppose.


Nunca desistir! O que precisa ser reestruturado? O que não deu certo ainda?
Vamos tentar novamente! Você consegue!


Você é um professor muito bom!


At my school, we put an emphasis on inquiry and problem solving. Kindergarten and onward, we put forward questions, usually from student provocations, and try to figure out how we can solve things. The very nature of inquiry provides opportunity to tinker - with blocks, with letters, boxes, with a variety of materials. We try to give as many open-ended opportunities as possible, often related to real world issues/problems, as well as a variety of possible materials, to see what the kids gravitate towards and how they will ‘tinker’. Often the motivation, beyond the provocation and the materials, comes from a chance to play and collaborate with other students, to communicate ideas, and to test ideas.


Amo minha profissão, o que torna os desafios possíveis.


Tinkering is important. Sometimes students don’t want to share their ideas, but we just let them know that all answers are useful and right.


I’m an art teacher so the obvious answer to me is materials. Provide kids with rich materials and exciting questions and they’ll often want to dive right in. Yes, the important thing is to emphasize that there is no right answer and that we’re all here to try something new–something that might be nerve-wracking at first, but will result in unique and fun answers!


Thank you for noticing.
Now I understand materials are very important.
And I think materials should be easy to handle for kids.
So I need to help kids feel easy to tinker with projects.


Love these ideas. In our kindergarten class we also have an “ask 3 then me” rule. We want kids realizing that they are all teachers. I also think a lot of tinkering/play time with materials before any project is expected can help alleviate fear and spark interest.


Really helpful idea!
Thank you!

Kids need some kind of warming up before project!