Tinkering & Making

The Amazeum believes tinkering develops the capacity for innovative problem solving by engaging students in hands-on, skill building projects that incorporate science, technology, engineering, art and math. Tinkering is an innovative approach to learning that focuses on open-ended explorations with materials, tools and ideas. As the leading resource for school based tinkering in NWA, the Amazeum offers several professional development workshops to support schools as they implement tinkering and develop makerspaces.    

Virtual Workshops

Be Your Virtual Best: Innovative Virtual Learning Techniques

Calling all educators (and we mean all)! Have you switched gears from in-person to virtual learning? Does your learning environment look different this year? Perhaps you’re simply looking for new ways to engage your students. The Amazeum has been learning how to adapt to the virtual world, too! We’ve found ways to use play to encourage social and emotional growth and flexible mindset development in learners. Join us for an interactive session where we’ll test out different ways to make learning more accessible for students and educators in this crazy virtual world. 

January 16, 2021
Time: 9:00 - 11:00 am
Fee: $10 per participant  
Click here to register for January 16, 2021 workshop.

Thanks to the generous support from the Walmart Foundation, this virtual, yet interactive workshop includes the following:

  • Personal, hands-on activities
  • Roundtable discussions to reflect on your virtual learning experiences
  • Coaching and facilitation from Amazeum’s professional development team 
  • Networking and idea swapping with NWA educators
  • Discounted registration fee
  • 2 hours of ADE Professional Development credit

What you need to provide: 

  • Computer or tablet capable of making video calls
  • Internet connection
  • Scissors
  • Writing utensils (markers and pens/pencils)
  • Paper

Developing a Maker Pedagogy: Textiles

February 13, 2021
Time: 9 am - 3 pm
Fee: $25 per participant
Click here to register for February 13, 2021 workshop.  Registration closes on February 6, 2021.

Developing a Maker Pedagogy: Textiles is a one-day, virtual experience that will transform your textile-based maker skills and teaching practice whether you are a novice, developing, or established maker educator. 

Thanks to the generous support from the Walmart Foundation, this virtual, yet hands-on workshop includes the following:

  • Personal, hands-on maker experiences focused on textiles including journal making and weaving
  • Virtual roundtable discussions to reflect on your maker experiences and develop your maker pedagogy  
  • Maker Kit delivered to your house filled with supplies for workshop activities
  • Resource guides and videos for workshop activities 
  • Coaching and facilitation from Amazeum’s professional development team 
  • Networking and skill swapping with NWA educators
  • Discounted registration fee
  • 5 hours of ADE Professional Development credits

What you need to provide: 

  • Computer or tablet capable of making video calls
  • Internet connection
  • Scissors
  • Writing utensils
  • Hammer

Private Workshops

Registration Details

The Amazeum offers private workshops for Tinkering 101, Tinkering 201 and Skill Swaps. Full descriptions are available below. Each private workshop is 2 hours long with the date determined in collaboration between school and Amazeum. Private workshops are best when held at Amazeum due to the experience and access to resources/tools. However, workshops can be held at your school site.  Workshops are ADE-approved for professional development credit. Professional Development workshops held in-person have new processes and procedures to maintain a healthy and safe environment. More information provided during registration.

Fee*: two-hour workshop at Amazeum for up to 25 teachers: $425
          two-hour workshop at school site** for up to 25 teachers: $500

Advanced registration and payment required by contacting Director of Education at mporter@amazeum.org

*Fees listed are negotiable with the Director of Education based upon quantity and frequency.
**Additional fee may apply for sites over 45 miles from Amazeum. 

Professional development workshops are designed for adult only. 

Workshop Descriptions

Tinkering 101 Workshop

Are you asking yourself 'what is tinkering' or 'how do I start tinkering in my classroom'? Then this is the workshop for you! Tinkering studios and makerspaces are growing in popularity among schools, museums, and libraries. But what is tinkering and making? Does this approach to learning really belong in schools? If it does, then what are the best practices for implementing tinkering in a classroom setting? As the leading resource for student based tinkering in NWA, the Scott Family Amazeum will share insights and strategies including opportunities to sample tinkering experiences.

Tinkering 201 Workshop

After completing a Tinkering 101 workshop, are you excited about implementing tinkering based learning into your classroom? Are you ready to continue your tinkering journey? Tinkering 201 is your next step! This workshop features hands-on experiences with implementation resources including documentation and assessment strategies. Participants will use a three part planning framework to structure tinkering experiences that lead to deep learning opportunities.   

Skill Swaps

Skill Swaps are workshops where you can learn new tinkering skills and build upon the skills that you already have while experimenting first hand with ideas and materials. The Amazeum will lead an exchange of making/tinkering based skills and hands-on activities in order to develop your own tinkering and implementation with your students. A variety of Skill Swaps are available- descriptions are below.

Makey Makey  This Skill Swap will focus on the creative tool called Makey Makey. We'll explore how you can start inventing with a Makey Makey out of the box and how you and your students can take it further by combining it with Scratch to experiment with basic programming. Join us as we investigate this simple tool for incorporating technology into the classroom that has endless creative possibilities!
Shakey Machines  Ready to expand your tinkering experience? Ready to shake things up with motors and batteries? Join the Amazeum team for a workshop all about bots! Bots that move, bots made out of everyday items, bots that can make art, and more!
Circuits  Learn how to create a basic circuit using circuit blocks. We will explore conductivity and switches by giving you hands-on time to mess around with your circuit. Then we will take it up a level and get creative with squishy circuits.
Build a Block Party Want to use circuit blocks in your classroom but you don't have circuit blocks? Build a Block Party is your solution! Come learn how to turn everyday objects and interesting materials into a tool you can use to engage your students in basic circuits. We will provide the tools and materials for you to make your first few starter circuit blocks.
Animation Animation is defined as 'using slightly different pictures that when shown quickly in a series create the appearance of movement'. In this Skill Swap, we will explore a variety of ways to animate your series of slightly different pictures. Discover the progression of animation from the earliest forms before film to the modern animation techniques of stop motion. Whether it’s hand-drawn or computer based, animation can bring out the creativity of your students and connect to content as well.
Circuits and Coding Want to keep exploring the world of circuitry? Paper circuits blend art, electricity, math, and even simple coding into awe-inspiring projects. This friendly way to learn electronics is a great for beginners and anyone looking to complexify their experience with circuits.  
Sewn Circuits Circuits can be soft, too! Come join your sewing and circuit skills together to create projects called sewn circuits. This Skill Swap will focus on the spatial awareness of sewing and the complexity of completing a circuit in fabric.


Making Spaces

If you are looking for a more in-depth partnership with the Amazeum to develop tinkering based learning at your school, check out the Making Spaces program.



Tinkerfest is the Amazeum's annual festival of tinkering! Come explore a wide variety of tinkering activities to gain inspiration for your classroom...and have fun! Full details are available here