Mark your calendar and join us for a very special CoP hangout:
“Engaging Young Children with Making & Tinkering”
Thursday, Dec 5th from 11:00 - 12:00 PST
I’m thrilled to have Lisa Brahms, Evelyn Read and Rachelle Doorley on this hangout, to talk about their work as it relates to this topic. They all have experience with early childhood learning and have inspired me in many ways, I’m hoping they’ll do the same for you.
Are you wondering what a CoP hangout is? CoP is short for Community of Practice. We recently formed a CoP around Making and Tinkering Spaces in Museums through ASTC—you’re welcome to become a member! The hangout is an informal online gathering using ASTC's webinar format, where you'll be able see video and images from others and ask questions. If you’ve already joined the CoP, just go to this URL to register and save your spot in the hangout.
Lisa is the Director of Learning and Research at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and one of the most thoughtful people I know when it comes to child development. She’ll be talking about the MAKESHOP at CMP, its pedagogical underpinnings and the research she is doing connected to making with young children and their families.
MAKESHOP® at the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum
Evelyn Read is the mastermind behind the Creative Kids Museum at TELUS Spark, up in Calgary. She’ll talk about the importance of materials and tools for young children and their role in the delightful space she has created for their youngest visitors to the museum.
Creative Kids Museum at TELUS Spark
Rachelle Doorley is the brilliant mom blogger/educator behind Tinker Lab who wrote about two things near and dear to my heart. (1) The importance of building confidence in young children and (2) why tinkering matters. She’ll be sharing her thoughts about both ideas as part of the hangout.
This is going to be a good one!
Thursday, Dec 5th at 11PST
If you’d like to share images or examples from your museum let me know and I’ll leave time in the hangout for that. Since there are several of you in the CoP who work in Children’s Museums I think we will have plenty to talk about. If there is too much to cover in a single hangout we will add a follow-up session later in the month.
I had been having deep philosophical discussions about the creation of making/tinkering space recently. Truly enjoying the growth and excitement around this idea. These conversations gave me reason to realize I sometimes get caught up in the logistics and problem solving aspects of inhabiting a space, forgetting how important it is to step back and think about what it means to “make place”—I was reminded of a lovely piece written by an architect (and dear friend) Donlyn Lyndon. I asked him if I could share it on the blog, hoping it would give you a moment to think about space and place from a different perspective.
Caring for Places:
What Does it Take to Make Place?
It takes the mind of the beholder
Caring how things are
and might be
It takes circumstance and promise and
That is to say it takes being alert among things
Standing beside them
Moving among them
Discovering positions in a larger pattern
Choosing among paths and vantage points
It takes events
Everyday and momentous
Spontaneous and contrived
which fill the spaces between and bring them to life
which engage the senses and prompt the mind
Magic rings of silence
Sounds that touch the nerves of being, echo and spur recollection
The flows of social action
It takes marking the things that surround us in ways that call out and
recall events that take place
Inscribing thought in matter
Tracing the acts of conception and construction
Embedding ornament that intrigues and offers to narrate
Reflecting joy of the seasons and of ritualized time
Forging libraries of aspiration
Indexing paths through the repository of the city
It takes Companions
Faces that challenge
Faces that confirm
Faces that dance
The many great faces that help to bring places into being
And yes, the face of the unfamiliar
– Donlyn Lyndon
Originally printed in the journal Places: Forum of Design for the Public Realm
Volume 20, Number 1, Summer 2008
Tonight at 9PM PST KRON 4 will broadcast a segment called Gadgets & Goodies where some Exploratorium exhibits are featured as part of Gabe Slate’s half-hour holiday tech gift guide special. Our newly release book, The Art of Tinkering, is going to be featured on the segment, so don’t miss this opportunity to get a glimpse of what the book is all about!
The week of After Dark: The Art of Tinkering, we had featured tinkering studio artist Jie Qi in residence with us in the learning studio sharing some of her recent projects. The group got to experiment a bit with Circuit Stickers, her latest project that takes crafting with circuits to a whole new level.
Circuit stickers are a new medium to experiment with crafting with electronics. They are peel-and-stick components that you can use to build glowing, sensing, and interactive projects without any complicated equipment or programming skills. We experimented mainly with copper tape and paper circuits but these stickers can be used with conductive paint and thread, graphite, or wire and foil.
One of the coolest things about these stickers is that some of them come pre-programmed with instructions like blink, twinkle, or fade. This adds a whole new element to the paper circuit activity and allows people to create interesting and surprising circuits. These functions could be done with programming an micro-controller with an arduino, but in a workshop setting like ours the stickers allow for much more experimentation and rapid prototyping.
This week Jie launched a Crowd Supply page where you can pre-order your own circuit sticker set when they are available in May of next year! We're hoping to experiment with them more in the Tinkering Studio with our paper and sewn circuit activities.