Thursday, February 13, 2014

Tinkering Tenets from San Francisco's Exploratorium

If ever there was a mecca of STEAM activities it would be the Exploratorium in SanFrancisco. For decades it has been a leading institution for people of all ages to explore the mysteries and discover the answers to "how" "why" "what" questions in the natural world.

They have come out with a new book that the Duxbury Free Library now owns, The Art of Tinkering, by Karen Wilkinson and Mike Petrich.

Here are their tenets:

  1. Merge science, art & technology: "...when you mix them together, you get a veritable tinkering trifecta in which technological tools and scientific principles let you express your own artistic vision...." 
  2. Create rather than consume: this says it all.
  3. Revisit & Iterate on Your Ideas.
  4. Use familiar materials in unfamiliar ways
  5. Express ideas via construction
  6. Prototype rapidly: "When you have a new idea, it's incredibly helpful get it out of your brain as soon as possible - to sketch a design or build a working model...."
  7. Embrace your tools
  8. Be comfortable not knowing
  9. Go ahead, get stuck: "...When you tinker, you're going to mess up. you're going to get frustrated, fail, and maybe even break a thing or two. We call this getting stuck, and believe it or not, it's a very good thing. Failure tells you what you don't know, frustration is making sense of that failure in the moment, and taking action leads to a new way of knowing...."
  10. Seek real-world examples everywhere
  11. Reinvent old technologies (and discover new ones, too)
  12. Try a little "Snarkasm": We like to jokoe aronud while we tinker, and we call our particular brand of well-meaning wit and unprecious playfulness "snarkasm. A little humor helps...."
  13. Balance autonomy with collaboration
  14. Put yourself in messy, noisy, sometimes dangerous situations:"...the dangerous aspects of tinkering is a powerful motivator - it forces you to slow down and pay close attention to what you're doing. A little caution goes a long way."
Check out the book at your local library!

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