Teachers use the Thinkering Lab to support classroom projects, to support the learning of content or skills, and as a time for students to engage in unstructured, open-ended exploration.
Students are encouraged to take risks, make discoveries, put their stamp on their creations, and test their theories of the world.
Thinkering Lab supports these design principles:
Reverence for children and childhood
Children love to explore and examine their world. The Thinkering Lab gives an important educational context for experimental play.
Respect for parents as partners
Teachers understand the passions and interests of students and their families, and bring such activities into the Thinkering Lab. For example, maker-activities include, but are not limited to sewing, knitting, and woodworking. We consider a variety of cultures when planning activities for the Thinkering Lab.
Trust in teachers as professionals
Teachers are the designers of the curriculum and lessons in the Thinkering Lab. Teachers ensure continued learning of the standards in all curriculum areas by scaffolding children’s learning to teach concepts in relevant content areas. Teachers support students’ understanding of the interdisciplinary nature to subject matters and put students in situations in which they learn and engage the Habits of Mind (i.e. persisting, risk taking, etc.)
Knowledge of how children learn
The maker-movement is a relatively new educational concept, and as such, educators are still creating/understanding the most effective pedagogical methods. Our commitment to ongoing study of how children learn fits perfectly with the new maker movement. Teachers’ ongoing study of the learning that takes place in the Thinkering Lab contributes to a new body of practice in teaching in the maker movement.
Sample Thinkering Activities:
- Cardboard construction
- Architecture Kits
- Textiles and Sewing
- Homemade Books
- Knitting Needles
- Poetry Kits
- Circuits (Snap and Squishy)
- Building Structures with Architecture Kits
- Writing Poetry with Poetry Kits
- Musical Instruments
- Light Exploration
- LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes)
- Copper Foil Tape
- Dot and Dash
- Kinetic Sand Play
- Mask Making
- Bicycle Repair
- Puppet Making
- Toy Invention
- Knitting and Sewing
- Circuit Board Exploration
- Simple Machines