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Tinkering is hands-on problem-solving and creating, but it can get messy and expensive. TinkerBox let kids experiment, solve problems, and create without needing supplies or space to work.
Students can work individually or in pairs. Allow some creative time for their own interests, or present a problem for students to solve. Have students create inventions virtually first, and then translate those creations to real-world prototypes.Continue reading Show less
Editor's Note: TinkerBox is no longer available.
TinkerBox is part game, part creative outlet. Kids can work their way through the six levels of puzzles, each offering multiple stages, where they drag the right object into place to solve a simple physics problem -- think Rube Goldberg machines. Kids complete one level to unlock the next, more challenging one. The training level demonstrates the mechanics with lines and arrows to prepare kids for the challenges to come.
Students can also create their own inventions using the objects: balls, bolts, chains, connectors, conveyer belts, fans, wheels, ropes, scissors, switches, wrenches, and more. The app comes preloaded with several inventions, and kids can alter those inventions or study them for inspiration.
TinkerBox is an impressive tool for kids interested in engineering. Either option -- the puzzles or the inventions -- alone is worth an investment, and TinkerBox includes both for free. The number of objects available for building is extensive, which is good, since the physics of the higher levels can get quite challenging. Kids are empowered to create the machines they want and can choose which objects will create the outcome they desire. They can also learn a bit of history about each tool as they learn how to effectively use it in the Elements Help section.
Students learn the basic concepts through the tutorial, practice in the puzzle section, and apply their knowledge in the invention section. Scaffolding is built in since kids can load existing inventions and customize them. While the industrial appearance of the lab may turn off some students, TinkerBox is still an all-in-one teaching tool that should appeal to many.
Key Standards Supported
Use evidence to construct an explanation relating the speed of an object to the energy of that object.
Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
Design a solution to a complex real-world problem by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through engineering.
Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object.
Make observations and/or measurements of an object’s motion to provide evidence that a pattern can be used to predict future motion.
Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object.