[Week 5 Activity] Time for Tinkering


I was inspired by this week’s activity to try out two new technologies (Pico and Python - and thanks for the push), but upon seeing @tarmelop’s paper build of Cambridge, developed further by @shruti, I moved toward representations of Cambridge. Referencing my Childhood Object from Week 1 (FM Radio), and perhaps @lightnin’s reflection on water, I used a Makey Makey, two water dishes, and some other objects to create a splashy multi-player Scratch game.

Hope it’s fun to play. Here’s Scratch URL:


I chose to tinker with a new block-based programming language named Enrect made by one of my friends.

The environment is intentionally designed for kids, and easily used without having to type. I knew he’s been working on it but I haven’t actually used to make something new, so that I think it would be a good opportunity for me to explore the new coding environment for the assignment.

Initially, I just try to use some of the blocks available to figure out how it works. As soon as I try to use variables, I noticed that how it handles variable is very unique. There is no name assigned to variables. Instead, it leverages arrows (please see the video below as it is almost impossible to explain without you seeing it).

Then, I quickly made my first application with Enrect, timer. Then, I came up with a great idea that that could possibly be a stop-watch game which player guesses the time lapses after the game is started. Please find the video below capturing what I made!

[第5週 アクティビティ] ティンカリングの時間です

30 PM

After missing a week I returned to the LCL forum and was delighted to see Carmelo’s paper version of my home city. Since my grandfather used to take me boating in that same spot, I couldn’t resist bringing his scene to life with Scratch (as both my Peers and Play/Tinkering activity). As a boy I was quite fond of cruising under the Boston/Cambridge bridges so I decided to add them in, too.

It can be tricky to cutout some of these shapes within the Scratch Paint Editor, so I spent some of my playtime in Photoshop where I could take advantage of the Polygonal Selection tool (ideal for isolating straight edge objects with tight areas). I guess this is appropriate as I gathered many of my Photoshop skills through years of tinkering (as well as frequent help/advice from peers)!


Our Pinball Machine Project…Make Fail Learn Repeat.)


Exploring new toy

To play with the toy:
1 Collect loops and sounds
2 Put into the Ableton live
3 Make the loops
4 Mix with the internal instrument

To play with Scratch
1 make the movie
2 reduce the size (480x360) and frame frequency (12 fps)
3 export in jpg
4 delete the odd frames (6fps)
5 create new actor with the pics
6 create the script


Thanks for this message, @Annette! (And for your follow-up, @Diana-Triana!) I really appreciate the thoughts around space and time and how the way we design those has such a profound effect on not only the way creative work happens, but also on the way in which learners feel that their work is valued and respected. Space and time are always difficult parameters to design for (especially in formal learning environments like schools) so I’d be curious to know from you all and others:

  • What strategies do you have for designing space and time to promote both creativity and agency in learners?
  • What other parameters (besides space and time) are important for empowering tinkering and creative play?


I think as teachers we must pay attention to their interests and learn how to extend children´s play through comments and questions.Share our goals with parents, cause unfortunately sometimes they don´t walk on the same path we do.
About what other parameters are important I would say to give the wide range of materials, also providing new experiences like bringing visitors to school, field-trips, engage in role-playing etc.
The more varied experiences children have in their lives, the wider the range of creative expression.


I choose my LEGO® collection as my play theme for this weeks’ Tinkering activity. I have a lot of creative fun time building with miscellaneous pieces and creating LEGO® models. I research the instructions and parts on the Internet and build. I also buy from the LEGO® store online and from educational LEGO® suppliers. It is my passion !! It is my creative space !! It is my Tinkering space. Its my quiet space !! I can come and build and relax after a hectic day !!


SORRY FOR THE UPLOAD FAIL: Try this link: Tinkering with Time:


I decided to tinker with one of the Scratch starter projects. It started with shapes moving in various ways and changing in appearance. I decided to focus on learning more about movement, looks and sound. I played around with making the shapes move in different ways, experimenting with turning by degrees and gliding using coordinates. I changed the color of some of the shapes, used costumes, tried different effects and used the hide and show blocks. I also added some music. I experimented with different instruments and notes.

I had a couple challenges. Sometimes I had difficulty with figuring out what degrees I should use, and the sprites moved in a jerky fashion. The biggest challenge was the music. I wanted to make it soothing, but sometimes it sounded “sour.” I’m still not totally happy with my results.

I really enjoyed this project. It was fun experimenting and seeing what the different blocks did. It was hard to stop tinkering and finalize the project because the possibilities seemed endless. I feel like I gained a better understanding of the order of the blocks. That should really help me on future projects. In my next projects, I would like to learn more about the pen, messages, controls and sensing. I think I’ll concentrate on one area at a time.

To see my project, go to


Great work!! Congratulations to your students and of course to you!!


Got a few minutes of spare time just for figuring out your messy desk


I keep a reusable cup in my car and use it for tea in coffee shops. I get ten cents off and I am helping the environment. But the inside of the white cup quickly develops a dark brown stain from tannins in the tea. There I am at the head of the line and the barista says loudly, “Your cup is DIRTY. Would you like me to rinse it out for you before I fill it?” And there I am saying with embarrassment, “Okay, but it will not do anything because it is tannins not dirt.” So after I have finished my tea I sometimes use napkins to scrape and rub out the stain, which is time consuming and hurts my wrist. The tannin coat comes off in tiny, clingy flakes which cling to the inside of the cup and drift onto my clothing.
So I decided to tinker with using the wooden stirrers at the condiment table to scrape at the coating. The cup is about 6 inches deep and the stirrers are about 7 inches long. This worked better than I expected. I used 3 stirrers held together with a napkin wrapped tightly at the end. I also tried this without the napkin. I also tried it with the 3 stirrers broken in half – with a napkin, this worked best. The coating flaked more easily and held well to the napkin. It was easier on my wrist and took less time.
I’m going to experiment more in the future and also try using the sugar (available in packets) as an abrasive, and the other sweeteners (including honey), which could be solvents or abrasives.
I asked myself: Why didn’t I try this before? What other small irritants and problems can I solve better with nearby materials?


What a fun time with your son! In my kindergarten class almost all my top shelves are empty to allow the children to save projects all week long. These include Lego, magnetic tiles, polydrons, art projects… also we have a dedicated large block building space. Usually the kids clear it every Friday but the last construction site was up for 3 weeks! It was amazing! Happy tinkering :grin:


Rather than “tinkering” myself, I watched my daughter tinker with her lego. She loves lego and is always making houses, castles etc. However, recently, she has began more of a stickler to the instructions that come with how to make Peppa Pig’s house rather than just creating one for herself.

I decided to give her a challenge to create a race track for her cars instead. I watched how she made tracks and tested them using her cars to see whether they would fit, changing any parts that were to fragile etc. However, with tinkering can also come frustration. She learnt how sometimes when things don’t go the way we planned, we can become frustration. However, if we let this frustration affect us, the results are not always positive. As she got frustrated, she made more mistakes and didn’t have the patience to solve some of her problems. I got her to stop, calm down and think calmly how she could fix her problem as well as suggesting solutions.

In the classroom, this can be very true too. I try to push my students to think for themselves and try different solutions to their problems. However, sometimes students need a little input from the teacher if they are becoming frustrated in their task. A little frustration is good for us, but too much and we run the risk of a child giving up on a task.


Yes. Tinkering process is often frustrating.
Kids need Passion to overcome frustration, as we learned in this course.
And I think kids also need self-confidence, or strong belief, that is like “I can make interesting thing”.
And to construct the belief, they need many successful experiences.


Time for tinkering! To start out, I gathered a few materials that seemed fun to work with - colored yarns, Pom poms, a few pumpkins, scissors and a glue gun. Next I took a quick walk outside to get a few neat looking branches. This seemed like a good start, and my only idea initially was to wrap some of the branches with yarn and maybe glue some Pom poms on the ends of the branches.

As I started working on my project, I really liked how the yarn added a fun, colorful appearance to the branch. The yarn gave so much color that I wasn’t sure anymore about wanting to add in the Pom poms. I was thinking about ways to get the branches to stand upright, and decided I would try out using a pumpkin. This part was easier than I’d envisioned. A power drill was the perfect tool for two quick holes to feed in the branches. The pumpkin was a perfect base.

Next I thought about how this was shaping up to look like a tree of sorts, and I thought about Thanksgiving coming up this week and maybe this could be a sort of centerpiece for the table. That gave me an idea to add leaves, which I cut out of recycled brown paper bag. Next I punched holes in the leaves and tied string loops on them. At thanksgiving, people can each take a leaf and write on it something they are thankful for and hang it from the tree. And that’s a wrap. I’ve made a “Thankful Tree”.


First I thought of tinkering in the kitchen, but that’s actually the only place I do easily tinker. In general I tinker when I search for a partial (or specific) solution for something I want to solve, but I hardly ever tinker just for the fun of tinkering.

I already liked the idea of doing something with paper, just one sheet of paper as Sean mentioned in the video.
Then I met a friend and she has to move and has too many books and didn’t know what to do with them. I thought of the time I moved to Brasil and had to get rid of a lot of books too: and even when I wanted to give them for free to the recycle shop, they didn’t want them! They already had too many books and would throw them in the wastepaper basket!
My friend said, that as I child she would fold the pages of books and make little cabins of them… and then I had my spark:

To be clever (I thought) I took some thin books and started to fold as she had shown me (picture 2).
It worked out well, just a bit repetitive work (It took me some 5 minutes. I tried speeding up the folding by doing several pages at the same time, but that wasn’t practical either, more like double work).
Luckily I had taken a book of only 125 pages… I thought. Because in the end I discovered that a thin book only makes 1/3 of a circle. So I should take a book of at least 350-400 pages to make ‘cabins’… (that’s for some other time)

When I put it flat, it looks like a hedgehog. But a friend tells me it’s not very original and shows me a picture on Google. I could make Christmas tree decorations out of them?

I took a second book, with photos in it. And then I had this idea: could I make a sort of pop-up book, like I had as a child (but without adding extra paper, just using the pages of the book)?
And I started experimenting a bit, with the photos, but also with text pages using the folding I did earlier.

My latest idea: maybe I could leave them in public spaces? (park, train…)


My activity was with plastic corks. I collect them for spring decoration in school, car wheels…
I observed my bowl with plastic corcks and I wondered what I can do with them in the spring. So I started…

More and more ideas were there, so at the end was like this :slight_smile:

I was very sorry, because my hot plastic glue is not here, because I would do some 3D flowers too.

My tinkering is not finished yet. With my pupils we will finish it in the spring :slight_smile:


I completely agree with you. I feel the same. And learning from your mistakes can make great achievements.
Always ready to try it again. :wink: