Thursday, November 10, 2016

Tinkering Award for RES

I am happy to announce that RES is the recipient of a Tinkering Award. This grant award fits with my goal to increase making and tinkering at RES.  The award, is sponsored by the Vermont After School Project ( and the Montshire Museum of Science ( and includes professional development as well as tinkering materials for students.  I was lucky to participate in a full day workshop last week in which I had an opportunity to tinker with materials, work with other passionate educators interested in making, and think about the structure of a tinkering space.  It was a great experience and I came back to school this week energized to bring this style of exploration to students and staff at RES.
I love when teacher training includes time for us to be the student and explore new materials. Here are some of my creations:
What will I make?
Light Up School Spirit
Tops! I made a swimming shark and a magic eight ball top!

I am so lucky to have teachers who are interested in supporting this sort of exploration and I was able to try out one of the tinkering activities with a group of third graders on Monday.  They were creative and inventive and willing to tinker! It was great!  Another hilight for me was getting to listen in to a conversation after wards where students asked why they had done this during what was typically math time. The teacher did an awesome job of turning this question back to students...and their are ideas and comments are worth noting:
*We had to try different strategies to see what would work
*We had to persevere 
*We had to think about balance, just like when we have to balance equations
*We had to understand different shapes
It was awesome for students to be able to express the value of tinkering!  I love that students are finding value in tinkering beyond the act, and also that they are enjoying these activities at their face value as well.
Here are a few pictures of students first time with the Tinkering Kit Award materials.

I look forward to improving my teaching practice and to offering an after school course to support this type of learning in 2017. Stay tuned for more information.

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