Engaged in Tinkering
by Julie C.
This week the Field Trip Explainers had a training in the Tinkering Studio. Ryan and Lianna from Tinkering talked about visitor engagement. They see engagement as a mix of motivation, interest, and spending time with an activity. After a discussion we broke into small groups. Our group discussed (and drew) how we engage visitors around the Circuit Board activity in the Tinkering Studio.
Vic likes to show visitors all the weird and wacky things available to play and work with at Tinkering. This is an illustration of a spring switch. There’s a small metal spring inside of a larger metal spring (a slinky). When they wiggle, they touch, and complete a circuit. Then the component they’re wired to turns on.
Kelly Ann models engagement by working on a project. She keeps one eye open for visitors. When the visitor approaches or looks interested she shows them what she’s doing. Sometimes they’ll work on it together. Sometimes she’ll pass the project on to them to complete.
Salene sets up a challenge for visitors. One of our trickiest components is the seven-segment-display. It’s the same type of digital number that you see on a microwave. It looks simple but predictably getting each segment to light up can be very tricky.
I like to start folks off with a very simple problem – how to light up a lightbulb? I don’t always tell people how to do it or what parts they’ll need! We talk about how flashlights and lamps work. Once we get the lightbulb on we add switches, buzzers, etc.