Last month, a number of staff and directors from our partner museum attended a Tinkering Workshop at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. It was a week filled with exploration, playing, experimenting, observing and learning.
From the Exploratorium’s Tinkering website:
“Many great inventors like Thomas Edison, Stephen Jobs and Art Fry, the inventor of the post-it note, as well as educators such John Dewey have noted the great value of open-ended exploration. Tinkering, focused activity with the right materials in the right environment, can lead to great new inventions, but more importantly builds self-confidence, critical thinking skills, and crucial attitudes that scaffold people’s interest in science, technology, engineering, and math. It teaches students and families that they too can create new inventions, that they can dream new things, then actually build them, can ask bold questions and answer them through focused exploration.”
The Network is partnering with the Exploratorium to bring to each member’s community a permanent Tinkering exhibit in 2012. These exhibits will offer visitors opportunities to tinker themselves, and discover their inner inventors and scientists.
One of our favorite activities was Automata. Check out the Exploratorium website to learn more, but first check out this video of Lenore Shoults, from Arkansas State University Museum, and her Automata creation: