It was with much excitement that Asia’s first tinkering studio - The Tinkering Studio at Science Centre Singapore (SCS) Hall E was launched last Friday 22 January 2016 by Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and a firm supporter of the maker movement in Singapore. Developed in partnership with the renowned The Exploratorium in San Francisco, California, this studio features numerous activities that require participants to “think with their hands”.
True to its mission, all who attended the media preview were given a circuit card to create their own lighted card!
At the launch, Associate Professor Lim Tit Meng, SCS Chief Executive and Er Chong Kee Sen, Institution of Engineers Singapore President also signed a memorandum of understanding to promote science and engineering among the young. Both parties hope to strengthen their existing collaboration through talks, forums, symposia and various other outreach events.
SCS hopes that the young would visit The Tinkering Studio to immerse themselves in physical exploration and knowledge construction. To be sure, this is one place where you can see children’s faces light up with excitement upon making a discovery. And it is the wish of SCS that through activities at the studio, children will develop a love for science and experimentation.
The Tinkering Studio is a place that completely engages the children’s senses once they enter.
Hole Saw Rhythm – Here visitors can explore the various sounds of the hold saws and also experiment with the speed of the spinner to create their own tune. Change the position of the hole saws or add or remove them to make various melodies. Children would be able to turn the speed knob to change the speed.
Pinbell – Visitors can explore movements and sounds as they arrange blocks and bells in an open “pinball” structure. They get to enjoy the unique melody created as they launch the pinball through their setup. Children would love to see their pinball going through the maze they created.
Shadow Kaleidoscope – Using different objects, visitors get to explore light and reflection as they move the mirrors nearer and further from each other. Children can count the number of reflections too!
Marble Machine – This peg wall holds endless possibilities for the marble and visitors alike. With sticks, bells, hose, tracks, metal spring, etc, visitors can choose to create their own marble track from scratch or add onto what someone else has left behind. Through this activity, children can learn about speed, size and patience (catching the marble ball).
Light Play – Visitors can create their very own light-and-shadow display as they use a variety of simple materials to explore light, shadow and motion. Some of the works currently on display were made by participants from the Asia-Pacific region during a four-day tinkering workshop for members of the Asia Pacific Network of Science and Technology centres facilitated by SCS, The Exploratorium and Questacon, the National Science and Technology Centre in Canberra, Australia.
Wind Table – Visitors create their own floating object from everyday materials and watch the object fly high as it harnesses wind energy from the Wind Table. Children can explore and discover which design works best. There is even a stool for them to stand on to reach the top of the Wind Table.
Scribble Bot –Visitors can create their own Scribble Bot, or drawing machine, with motors, wires, batteries and everyday materials and, in the process, learn about basic circuitry. At the end of the day, each design will be unique to its creator.
Check the website for the activity schedule at http://www.science.edu.sg/exhibitions/Pages/TinkeringStudio.aspx
All said, The Tinkering Studio is a great place to explore as a family (admission is free for all Science Centre ticket holders). It is a time for parents to impart their hands-on skills to their children and for the children to learn to think with their hands. As Professor Lim Tit Meng, Chief Executive of SCS, said: “learning through discovery and experimentation, tinkering, is what will stay with the students, the young for life.”