In the 1990’s the acronym STEM was first used to describe an interdisciplinary approach to integrating academic concepts into curriculum. That notion has since evolved and the term STEM is now used to describe an array of both academic and extracurricular models that integrate Science, Technology, Engineering and Math principles into real-world applied lessons and projects.
STEM AND TINKINEER Sometimes the most effective learning takes place without the student even knowing it! Tinkineer introduces STEM concepts through a combination of fun and engaging characterscoupled with hands-on projects that result in beautiful showpiece-quality, kinetic models.We’ve taken a hybrid approach.Each kit begins with a short lesson communicated through an engaging graphic novel. The story and lesson are told through the eyes of one or more of the Tinkineers who learn about a physics or engineering concept related to the project.
For example, in Marbleocity’s Coaster module, we explore the classic example of a gravity-powered roller coaster and the conservation of energy principles therein. The student then proceeds to build an operational rolling ball, kinetic sculpture (or “marble machine”) that puts those principals into action – exemplifying what we’ve just learned about kinetic energy, potential energy and frictional losses.
While learning about conservation of energy is the overt STEM lesson, embedded in the project are so many more. One that we feel is a particularly important lesson pertains to how complex machines are actually merely a series of much simpler sub-assemblies! The construction of the module is designed in a way to elucidate this important engineering lesson … whether the student knows it or not! We feel the action of making something by hand can have the effect of taking a highly complex machine and to magically distill it into something that is no longer intimidating! What was at first complex is suddenly easy to understand. Best of all, the resulting sculpture is a conversation piece that can be displayed with pride and enjoyed by its creator and their loved ones.