“Tinkering: Kids Learn by Making Stuff,” New Book Inspired by the Community Science Workshops

The Community Science Workshop Network is excited to be going to the San Mateo Maker Faire on May 16th-17th, where we’ll be bringing our students and our staff to present the work of the CSWs to a broad audience of makers and tinkerers.

We’ll also be sharing a new book by Curt Gabrielson, founder of the Watsonville Environmental Science Workshop, and author of two previous CSW-inspired books:  Stomp Rockets, Catapults, and Kaleidoscopes and Kinetic Contraptions.  

Inside you’ll find wisdom from Gabrielson's 20+ years of tinkering with kids off the street at the Community Science Workshops of California, as well as poignant stories from the front lines of tinkering with kids.
Inside you’ll find wisdom from Gabrielson’s 20+ years of tinkering with kids off the street at the Community Science Workshops of California, as well as poignant stories from the front lines of tinkering with kids.

Tinkering: Kids learn by Making Stuff builds on Gabrielson’s previous books, diving deeply into the what, how, and why of tinkering, in addition to offering detailed instructions for many group tinkering activities.  The book has chapters on why learning from these activities is valuable for youth, how to facilitate a great tinkering session, what a tinkering space looks like, and how to field common challenges that pop up when working with groups of kids and tools.

Whether you’re trying to get your own kids more into tinkering or trying to organize a group, this book is full of practical, well-tried information that can invigorate your interactions with young people.  Teachers will find sections on aligning tinkering to standards, tinkering within rigid school environments and working with students approaching the activities from a wide variety of backgrounds.  Out of school-time educators will find sections on how to start and progress with a set of related kid-driven activities, how to organize work and storage space and how to situate a tinkering program within a community to maximize effectiveness.  Parents will see how to bond with their kids while learning beside them.

The project write-ups are full of easy to follow images, and also come with rich science background explanations: Catapults, CO2 blasters, shrink-wrap drum sets, modeling body parts, magnetic dancers, lighted wizard wands are a few examples.

tinkering book cover

Check out MAKE Magazine blog posts about the book, for excerpts on human body tinkering activities here and stories about the long-term impacts of tinkering here.

Tinkering:  Kids Learn by Making Stuff is available for purchase here at the online MakerShed.