tables with cardboard and glue. A
room filled with tools but missing
makers and their work is like an empty
computer lab. Ensure that students
will have the guidance and inspiration
of an attentive maker by assigning a
staff person to lead activities. Provide
opportunities for students to share
their knowledge of tools or processes
they are passionate about.
Making Future Scientists
As we mentioned, tinkering activities
can help produce students who are
interested in science, feel capable of
doing science, and want to do science.
Some young people will channel these
positive science learning identities
into future studies and professions.
Others will channel them into lifelong
engagement with different aspects of
nature (environmental stewardship,
kitchen chemistry, and so on). Still
others will stay tuned in to scientific developments in the news or in
their local communities, or perhaps
encourage their own children to
pursue science careers.
Makerspaces, maker activities, and
makers themselves already exist in
many communities across the United
States. Schools can partner with local
museums, libraries, and community
makerspaces to develop maker programs. You might want to test out a
maker program in an after-school or
family night context first. Once you
and your colleagues see the active,
joyful engagement that young people
express in such programs, we can
almost guarantee that you will want to
seek out ways to integrate making and
tinkering into regular school practices
and classrooms. EL
1For details on how to build wind tubes,
2For a guide for circuit boards, see
3For a collection of open-ended
maker activities, see http://tinkering
Bevan, B., Gutwill, J., Petrich, M., &
Wilkinson, K. (in press). Learning
through STEM-rich tinkering: Findings
from a jointly negotiated research
project taken up in practice. Science
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and ‘making’ in education: The democratization of invention. In J. Walter-Herrmann & C. Büching (Eds.), FabLab:
Of machines, makers and inventors
(pp. 2–22). Bielefeld: Transcript
Duffalo, K. (2010). Play: What’s to
be learned from kids? Part 1 [blog
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Center at http://blogs.walkerart.org/
Kafai, Y. B., Peppler, K. A., & Chapman,
R. N. (2009). The computer clubhouse:
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Krishnamurthi, A., Bevan, B., Rinehart,
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framework for K– 12 science education:
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Papert, S. (1993). Mindstorms: Children,
computers, and powerful ideas. New York:
Petrich, M., Wilkinson K., & Bevan, B.
(2013). It looks like fun, but are they
learning? In M. Honey & D. Kanter
(Eds.), Design, make, play: Growing
the next generation of STEM innovators
(pp. 50–70). New York: Routledge.
Resnick, M., & Rosenbaum, E. (2013).
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Sheridan, K. M., Halverson, E. R., Litts, B.,
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T. (in press). Learning in the making: A
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spaces. Harvard Educational Review.
Vossoughi, S., & Bevan, B. (2014).
White paper: Making and tinkering.
Washington, DC: National Research
Council Committee on Out of School
Vossoughi, S., Escudé, M., Kong F., &
Hooper, P. (2013, October). Tinkering,
learning and equity in the after-school
setting. Paper presented at the annual
FabLearn conference. Palo Alto, CA:
Wilkinson, K., & Petrich, M. (2014). The
art of tinkering. San Francisco: Weldon
Bronwyn Bevan (bbevan@exploratorium
.edu) is the director of the Exploratorium
Institute for Research and Learning in
San Francisco ( www.exploratorium.edu).
Mike Petrich directs the maker initiative
at the Exploratorium. Karen Wilkinson
is director of the Exploratorium Learning
Can one think that because we
are engineers, beauty does not
preoccupy us or that we do not try
to build beautiful, as well as solid
and long-lasting structures?
Aren’t the genuine functions of
strength always in keeping with
unwritten conditions of harmony?
Quoted in Remaking the World:
Adventures in Engineering by Henry Petroski