This document from Relating Research to Practice provides practitioner briefs and links to four key pieces of research on the value and practicalities of engaging audiences with science through hands on activities, or "tinkering".
The document is called "Learning through Tinkering in STEM Education" where "STEM" stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. The briefs and papers come from a USA perspective but there is useful learning to be found in them for any context.
The first brief defines tinkering and reviews the literature on learning through tinkering. The next three briefs discuss case studies of learning through tinkering.
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