Tinkering Studio

  •  United States, Bay Area, California
  •   1980
Short Description

The Tinkering Studio at the Exploratorium offers activities and workshops for playful invention, investigation, and collaboration for both children and adults, including parents. By creating inquiry-based experiences and tools that spark wonder; offer hands-on experiences; and encourage questions, explorations, and individual discovery, we are transforming the way that people learn. Teachers are supported in changing their classroom practices and collaborate with a high number of science-centers and museums to create similar offer in other places in the world.

Objectives

They believe that learning is joyful and lifelong. By creating inquiry-based experiences and tools that spark wonder; offer hands-on experiences; and encourage questions, explorations, and individual discovery, we are transforming the way that people learn. Learning this way empowers people to figure things out for themselves about science, but also about any topic, claim, or idea. They also support teachers in changing their classroom practices and collaborate with a high number of science-centres and museums to create similar offer in other places in the world.

Sustainability

Exploratorium is 50 years old.

Methodology

They offer their programmes in the Exploratiorium directly for children and for teachers.
- hands-on, inquiry-rich experiences for secondary science and math teachers.
- for secondary science and math teachers as well as school leaders’ inquiry-based professional development.
- activities and workshops for playful invention, investigation, and collaboration for both children and adults, including parents.
- educational resources supporting the implementation of the California Next Generation Science Standards.

Funding

From entrance fees, donations and funds raised.

Outcomes

801,465 Total Attendance 75,351 After Dark visitors 125,607 Total Field Trip visitors
74,925 Field Trip visitors with free admission

16,043 Membership Households

Justification

Having personal experience of their complex methodology and joyful approach. Probably the joy element makes it most outstanding, and this is transmitted to schools to make science education enjoyable there, too.

Didactical Concept

Playful learning

Innovation

Complex approach to science, breaking down silos, collaboration with schools and local community, especially by offering services that makes science experience joyful for parents.

Practice Orientation

Their tinkering methodology is described in literature - doing science using everyday, simple materials.

Involvement

Schools are offered methodology and support, but free to choose what they implement locally.

Mutual Learning

Exploratorium evolves using experiences from implementation, but the most important mutual learning element is through the network of other similar centres they operate.

Intergenerationality

They offer exploration for all ages, also adults and children experimenting together.

Institutional Learning

They encourage and support schools in their transformation and improving their science teaching.

Implementation

Employees:

Full time: 252
Part time and on call: 183 High School Explainers: 203 Volunteers & Interns:
- Total Volunteer Hours: 15,239

- Volunteers: 231

- College+ interns: 14

Evaluation

They have a quality system in place.

Documentation

They make a lot of visual documentation of the learning happening and use that for analysis and improvement.

Time frame
  • Year of implementation: 1969; continuous programme
Categories
  • Interactive Workshops
Lead Organisations
  • Non-governmental Organisation
Level of Schools
  • Preschool
  • Primary School
  • Lower Secondary School
  • Upper Secondary School
External Partners
  • Company
  • NGO
  • Public Authority
  • Museum
  • Other
Type of Schools
  • Diverse.
URL
Number of Schools involved
Number of Schoolheads involved
  • 0
Number of Teachers involved
Number of Students involved
Number of Parents involved
Number of External Partners involved
Inclusivity

They are offering services for free for some participants.

Interdisciplinarity

It has a complex science approach.

Transdisciplinarity

Their whole approach is about putting scientific knowledge into practice.

Cooperation

Both students and teachers (and other stakeholders participating) are involved as equal partners.

Supervision

They offer continuous support for their partners.

Cooperation Quality

You can see that there is genuine interest in each other within the partnership.

Note: the case study was made based on my experience, the interview could not have taken place due to lockdown in the Bay Area. No information about numbers, this is the reason for the zeros.

Role of External Partners

They enrich the activity offer and also participate in co-creation.