[Week 5 Activity] Time for Tinkering




For this activity I tried to make tinkering with some random software technology that I do not know or I know only a bit. I started from an article on medium about making a firefox extension in kotlin, then after some attempts I simplified it and adapted for this course. This is the final result:

This is a very simple extension that add a header on the top of the page with a greeting, but I had a lot of fun in creating it :slight_smile:

The extension is also downloadable from here! (and here how to install it on Firefox).


I want to share you this handcraft with clips, the preschool students enjoy this activity, because they work with this kind of material and they learned that clips can use in different ways.


So, I have been playing a lot with micro:bits a lot lately. My tinkering has led me to learn about Python, soldering, external inputs (moisture sensors ), LED basics and LEDs as brightness sensors. My latest tinkering and play has been with servos and getting them to work.

Micro:bit math shakers:

Micro:bit moisture sensor:

Micro:bit bike signals:

Micro:bit glasses:

Latest fun~
Servos + Lego:

My next steps include getting a better handle on how to code micro:bits with syntax, how to get multiple modes of light patterns for my glasses, how to control the servo like a remote control car, and how to use a pump to connect to the moisture sensor to get the plant to be auto-watered. Good thing I have two kids at home that like to play and build as much as I do.


Helping my nine-year-old son in a homework activity. We did a stop-and-motion movie to present a poetry in third grade of elementary school.

The poetry was:“But they actually lives in a letter m and a letter n, lowercase.”, written by a Brazilian child writer called Ziraldo. And the book’s name was “Every person lives where he can”

Here is the video that translates the idea of my son about this poetry …


I have to run an unplugged workshop for 8-10 year olds next week. Your paper model gave me an incredible idea. These workshops are meant to lead into our Scratch programming. But the problem is not programming in itself. I am trying to get the kids to understand how broad the possibilities are with programming. i.e. making a 3D film or comic strip.I might be able to tie in your project somehow.


I was tinkering with LightLogo, a small application written by Brian Silverman that runs Logo programs that can control a neopixel ring of RGB LEDs through a microcontroller (Arduino board). It is quite fun to tinker with trying to write small procedures that make the lights dance around the ring.

A basic procedure that programs the microcontroller to change colors on increment at a time looks like this:

loop [fd 1 setc color + 1 wait 100]

I was completely immersed in tinkering with the code. There is something about offloading the code onto a physical object that is very satisfying. I tinkered with creating patterns, flashing all LEDs, and creating a traffic light pattern from Green --> Yellow --> Red.

Next I will try to create holiday sequences and possibly 3D print enclosures that accentuate the sequences.

I am my best when I am left uninterupted. I try to get into a state of flow when I am tinkering or doing work. I can’t stand distractions. Most often they will involve a request to do something else that pulls me away from my current learning. This almost always results in me starting and stopping and never really making much progress.


PLAYING WITH PROTONS - CERN. it’s a program made for primary school pupils in order to perceive science issues for the structure of matter and the universe and my pupils of 5th grade and me are participating for this school year. We are very enthusiastic about the subject and here is our tinkering efforts to present the way we look at the atoms, molecules and particles of matter using different materials.
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I like your process that just start with collecting some materials handy, and explore what you can make with them. And in your tinkering process, you thinking and ideas evolve.


This week I sat down and tinkered with a Little Bits collection with my son. I made a car with flashing lights and some alarms. It was great just sitting around and just trying out new things. It has been a while since I’ve sat around and just played with no end in mind.


So, for this activity I decided to tinker with Sonic Pi, a very cool tool for music live coding that @breenworks showed me somewhere else in this forum. I finally got the time to try it out, and it’s worth some tinkering :smiley:

The tool itself is designed for tinkering: you can quickly write some code and listen to its output. You can even loop the music, change stuff and reinterpret without the music stoping, and so you can do some sort of code DJing…

I didn’t get so far as that, but I managed to come up with this snippet:

(if this doesn’t work you can try it here)

Hope you like it! For anyone interested, here’s the code that generates it:

Happy tinkering to everyone!


I wanted to experiment with doing some point and click adventures in Scratch. At the beginning I was making some unnecessary complex block constructions, but later I’ve discovered that some stuff can be done much simpler. Today I’ve got back to it after two days break to discover that not all my recent changes were saved. I’ve managed to do stuff once again in even simpler and more efficient way.


We were hosting an event with kids this week at our company. CLOQQ team, which I’m part of, were in charge of designing and teaching the activities and we thought it might be cool to show some of the projects we have creating for our website.
So I chose to play with paper circuits. I created a birthday card, creating an electronic circuit with copper tape, a LED and a cell battery, and used the same elements to create a wrist band with lights and our logo.
It was really fun and it was great to solve problems such as how to make the circuit if the copper tape is conductive just in one of its sides.


nice and elegant “getting the wolf smaller when it goes further” :smiley:





For my tinkering activity I chose Scratch. I’m new to Scracht, and I wanted to try new things. I’m a mathematician and I like fractals, so I thought, could I draw some fractals in Scracht?
I look for some ideas in the Scratch community, and with the help of @frjurado , I learn some things about functions. Next step was to tinkering and see where this will go.
I end up with some beautiful drawings, like this one.

Finally, I did this Scratch project where you can tinkering and see what happens. Hope you like it!


Such beautiful shapes! :smiley:

Plus, fractals (and recursion in general) is a rich path where you might explore much further. Congrats!


Lego bricks have always inspired me in my tinkering process. They can be arranged and re-arranged in many different ways, and give you way to new constructions and ideas.
Generally I start with an idea in my mind, then look for the most suitable pieces, then refine the process along the way.
Thanky you.


Thanks so much for your reply, Kathleen! I’ve started using the tops of my shelves for saved projects, and it’s working beautifully, but I was wondering how I’d control the accumulation eventually. Cleaning them all off for a fresh start on Fridays sounds perfect! Happy tinkering to you, too!


HelenBrownsell, I think you’ve arrived at one of the fundamental advantages of teaching with tinkering: the process itself demands that children use and learn self-regulation. When children are being told the “right answer” when they get something “wrong”, they don’t learn the emotional skills that come with testing hypotheses and figuring things out. But real-world problems demand perseverance, and your approach with your daughter here is teaching her that. Bravo! MOST scientific experiments will likely end in failure to find a breakthrough discovery. Most of our first ideas about things are wrong. Skills of emotional regulation such as dealing with frustration, self-talk, using strategies to calm oneself, such as deep breathing or counting…all of these are not thought of as scientific skills, but they are crucial to the process of tinkering and discovery.