There has been a lot written lately about the value of tinkering on learning. I’m glad to see it as I hold this practice close to my own heart. As a youth I begged my parents to get me an expensive robot for Christmas one year. After much prodding my parents broke down and got it for me. (In spite of our situational poverty)
When Christmas came and I opened the package I was very excited. I played with it for the rest of the day. Within three days, however, I had managed to take the whole thing apart. The robot never worked again. However, the lesson that I learned lasted a lifetime.
The lesson was this: I came to realize that the mystery of the robot was that it was made up of stuff, things inside which I could further take apart. No matter how hard I looked I could not find any magic inside of it. There was only the stuff.
This has lead me to this day where I believe that things can always be broken down into more simple components. When a problem seems too complex and unimaginable, one great method for managing it is to break it down into its constituent parts. Slowly over time, with a little perseverance and support you will eventually get your robot back in working order… or not.
We hope to offer tinkering classes at our makerspace, for youth to be able to explore the world around them.. making mistakes and exploring dead ends. Tinkering is not about success, or accomplishments. It is about learning that you have the ability to work out a solution regardless of how hidden it may seem.