Where to Begin? Starting Small to Succeed!
We’ve reimagined the scientific inquiry and engineering design process to help teachers easily and effectively integrate them into the classroom with TinkerClass! Ready to help your students start thinking like a scientist or an engineer but not sure where to begin? Start by familiarizing yourself with the four simple steps of TinkerClass.
Then we recommend trying some of the introduction strategies below as you start the TinkerClass journey. In general, when it comes to introducing the tool, we recommend starting small and building up over time.
Many teachers start with a mini-unit on active listening, during which they explore what good listening looks and sounds like while establishing some listening norms for their classroom. Here are some ideas of what that might include:
- Listen-Alouds — similar to the tried and true read-aloud, this is when teachers play an episode (or episode excerpt) to the whole class and model the skills of good listening for their students
- Keep a Good Listeners Chart — list out the skills of good listening explicitly and keep this chart visible at all times
- Shared Listening Experiences — practice listening in small groups
- Listening Lab — set up a dedicated listening space in your classroom where students go to practice listening skills
After you’ve spent some time honing those listening skills, it’s time to move into the next phase of TinkerClass — WOWing and WONDERing! We know it can be hard for students to make the leap from listening to coming up with their own ideas for experiments and engineering designs. So we break it down into two simple steps:
- Reflect and / or annotate what you heard with WOWS
- Then brainstorm new ideas with WONDERS
Here are some ways to scaffold this step even more:
- Start the process offline in a notebook or with a printable version
- “Turn & Talk”-style WONDERing lets kids share with each other informally
- Set up on-going Listening Partnerships as students work toward independence
Whatever you do, we’ve seen that taking it slow with the first two phases of the TinkerClass journey leads to success later on as you move into Tinker and Make.
Want to transform podcasts into PBL, or as we like to call it—Podject Based Learning? Sign up for TinkerClass. Free for teachers!