Our Latest MOOC - Motion & Mechanisms


Tinkering Fundamentals: Motion & Mechanisms

We're about to launch a new online Professional Development experiment! This new MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is called Tinkering Fundamentals: Motion & Mechanisms. Its free to participate at Coursera. This is the second course we've produced and this time we've partnered with the Research + Practice Collaboratory and Lighthouse Community Charter School in Oakland, CA to bring you a five-week course built around three of our favorite motion-based activities: Marble Machines, Automata and Chain Reactions. The Collaboratory, led by Bronwyn Bevan at the University of Washington, conducted the field research and co-led, with Lighthouse, monthly meetings with after school teachers and Tinkering Studio staff to look together at the data we were collecting and our goals for student learning. The results are documented in a tool we’ll share in Week 5 called the Learning Dimensions Framework.

Our goal for the course is to introduce tinkering activities, but also go deeper into the pedagogical ideas behind them. We'll share our approach to designing activities, practicing facilitation, and setting up environments conducive to learning about science and art through tinkering. We'll be actively participating in the course along with you in the discussion forums and even offering impromptu hangouts from time to time.

We're thrilled to be able to introduce you to some of our intellectual, scientific, and artistic heroes; including Eleanor Duckworth and Hubert Dyasi. You'll get to hear from artists and scientists working directly with these ideas; folks like Arthur Ganson, Bernie Zubrowksi, and Carlos Zapata. And we'll hear reflections from our teacher collaborators who shared these activities in their after school programs. We've produced a collection of 19 short videos detailing the way we go about designing activities, from guiding principles to the “nuts and bolts”; we also developed detailed guides to go along with each of the activities, and some of our favorite readings.

We can't wait to begin and hope you'll join us!
Registration is open now.

Overdeck Family Foundation

This project was funded by generous support from Overdeck Family Foundation and the National Science Foundation.


When will the course materials and lesson guides become available? I am enrolled in the course.
Thank you very much,
Beth Kennedy

Hi Beth ~
Welcome back (I think) ~ if you're the same Beth Kennedy who took our first MOOC!

To answer your question: the day the course goes live, July 27th, you'll have full access to all materials and guides for all 5 weeks. While you could binge watch all the videos and cram activities into a weekend, we'll hope you'll pace yourself and enjoy tinkering along with us week to week, but it's totally up to you.

Hello and Thanks! Yes, I am (one of!) the Beth Kennedys who took the first course and am excited for the second! I'll look forward to the 27th. Will there be materials I"ll need to purchase in advance?

Great to have you with us again ~ and yes, Luigi is finalizing a comprehensive materials list for all activities. Marble machines is probably the most materials intensive and materials specific activity we'll be doing. Here's the PDF for it as well as an instructable so you can get a head start if you'd like:

You'll probably be able to scrounge many of the materials for this course, but you'll also be able to put your circuit boards from last time to use. I think you'll like the way they can be incorporated into the activity we'll do together this time. :)

See you online next week!

I'm truly excited and can't wait for the course! I've taken the first one, and it was amazing. I've used the different activities in my work. I hope I'll do the same with this course.

I am ready

Hello Karen,

I started the course late and it is in the middle of the course. I 'm interested in all three activities and have made my first cardboard automata. But I can' t post on Twitter as my acc was not working well that I don't know why.

Anyway I enjoy the course and thank you very much for producing this course.

Khin latt

I stumbled upon this and am intrigued by this concept. I tried some of these tactics with my kids and the results are phenomenal. I'm a lawyer in Dubai and time is tight; this really helps make things easy when it comes to teaching kids.

I was wondering if this class is still offered? It sounds very interesting but from the comments it looks like it may have taken place during the summer.

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