The 40 Schools Project: Engaging Students in STEM through Tinkering

We're celebrating our 40th anniversary by bringing our favorite tinkering and engineering program to over 40 schools across Vermont and New Hampshire!

Project links:  Project Home  ||  Project Resources  ||  Project Media  ||  Map of School Participants

During spring of 2016 the Montshire Museum is engaging 5th and 6th graders in engineering, science and art through a whimsical, creative tinkering project that is deeply rooted in STEM concepts and problem solving. Inspired by Montshire's 40th Anniversary Year, this project will involve over 40 schools in Vermont and New Hampshire. We thank the Kettering Family Foundation for their generous support for this project.

The Project - Creative, Inspiring, Challenging

We have chosen one of our favorite tinkering activities for this project: Scibble Bots! This whimsical contraption combines science and engineering content with problem solving. Students have fun while learning about electrical circuits, balance, materials, and 3D design. Once completed, students will be making their very own machine art!

Connecting with Schools, Teachers, and Students Virtually

This project allows the Museum to explore successful models to bring STEM learning experiences to schools throughout northern New England using web-based technologies now readily available to schools and teachers. Teacher professional development will be delivered via webinars, Museum scientists will make classroom visits virtually to meet with students, and students will be able to share their work, collaborate, and learn from their peers across the two states through an on-line password protected photo sharing gallery. The Museum is using this project to build our capacity to increase the number of rural New England schools we can reach with rich STEM learning experiences in the future.

Project Activities

  • January: Recruit schools and site selection.
  • February: Selected schools notified and commit via SurveyMonkey.
  • Early March: Classroom materials kits packaged and shipped to school sites.
  • Mid March: Teacher webinar: Tinkering in the Classroom
  • Late March: Pre-unit “Student Survey of Attitudes Toward Science and Engineering” administered on-line.
  • April-May: Teachers implement scribble bots tinkering project in classrooms. 
  • During classroom implementation, Montshire science education staff make two virtual visits via Zoom video conferencing system.
  • Teachers and students post photos of their work on password protected website enabling peer-to-peer collaboration.
  • May-June: Post-project teacher evaluation.
  • May-June: Post-unit administration of “Student Survey of Attitudes Toward Science and Engineering” 
  • July-August: Project evaluation analyzed, final report written and submitted to funder.
  • October: Results presented at Association of Science-Technology Centers annual meeting, Tampa, Florida.