Free Tinkering Workshops for Schools


Tinkering is an inclusive, innovative and collaborative educational approach with an aim to promote lifelong engagement with science. In 2019/2020 Science Gallery Dublin will work with primary and secondary school teachers to integrate tinkering into their class curriculum. Thirty teachers, along with their classes, will be invited to participate in free workshops in the gallery. Priority will be given to DEIS schools to increase the science capital of students from these schools. Science capital is the sum of a young person’s exposure and access to science and technology.

Tinkering workshops give students an opportunity to learn through personal and meaningful experiences. Students are encouraged to develop their creative confidence and critical thinking. The workshops equip teachers with skills and tools they can recreate and build upon in order to enrich their teaching practice. The full list of workshops will be published in September 2019. Two popular examples of activities that will be on offer include:

- Doodle Bots: this workshop challenges the learner to build a motorised robot that moves across a surface and makes a mark. The materials are simple and require the student to build and test their own design.

- Marble Machines: in this workshop we challenge students to assemble a complex path for a marble to travel. The student’s creative and problem solving process is immediately visible in their finished Marble Runs. This workshop utilizes materials that can be used time and time again in new and innovative ways.

- Light Play: Students combine their electronics experience (LEDs/Arduino) with a narrative through craft. Students are each given a line from a story that they must depict. The aim is to create silhouettes out of paper/card which are then backlit by LEDs. All these components are housed in a cardboard box which has a semi-translucent window (tracing paper). Students learn communication skills and teamwork. 

Workshops for 5th & 6th classes (primary), and 1st, 2nd and 3rd year classes (secondary) will be held during term time between September and May 2019-2020. Teachers are required to undergo introductory training session in advance of their class workshop. This training can be held on the same day as the class visit, as the students are given a tour of the current exhibition. 

According to our Tinkering Teacher Ambassdor Deirdre Brennan (Firhouse Educate Together Secondary School) who visited Science Gallery Dublin with her class in March 2019, "tinkering activities at the Science Gallery are relevant to many Junior Cycle Science - Physical World Learning Outcomes such as designing, building, and testing a device that transforms energy from one form to another in order to perform a function. The marble machine activity helps students review and reflect on the skills and thinking used in carrying out investigations, and apply their learning and skills to solving problems in unfamiliar contexts."

If you would like to sign up for yourself and your class to participate, complete THIS FORM. Please note that Science Gallery Dublin is not in a position to cover travel or catering costs for schools to attend these free workshops - transport and catering must be organised independently. If you have any questions about the programme, contact education@dublin.sciencegallery.com with the subject line “Tinkering EU”

These workshops are offered as part of the international collaboration project “Tinkering EU2: Building Science Capital for All”, funded by the European Commission’s Erasmus+ programme. Follow the activities of the project partners on @TinkeringEU. Check out the first resource of the project, “Tinkering and Science Capital: Ideas and Perspectives” which provides a theoretical rationale for understanding the relationship between Tinkering as a pedagogical approach, students’ individual science capital and inclusive STEM teaching approaches. 

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