One response to “Tinkering as a valid part of education”

  1. Miss MSE

    As an example of PBL, my 8th grade science teacher had an end-of-year project she called “Sludge”. Our lab curriculum had emphasized various basic analysis techniques, like paper chromatography, filtering, and finding boiling points. We were broken up into group of 2-3 students, and given a jar of sludge. There was a list of possible components, and everyone’s jar had 6-8 different things in it, which you were supposed to figure out, based on the techniques covered the rest of the year. I loved that project!

    One of my current courses is on principles of failure analysis, and is very student centered. Students bring in failed objects, and we’re going through the steps of how to effectively determine the cause of failure on several of them. The professor acts as a consultant: he won’t tell us what to do next, other than to answer between a finite list of options we give him. It’s a fantastic set up for this kind of topic, which is all about learning how to examine something critically.