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". Relating Research to Practice is a project that has been bringing together peer–reviewed educational research since 2009 and making it available, accessible, and useful to informal science educators through the website. The project is funded by National Science Foundation in the USA and led by the Exploratorium.
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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