150 Future Forwards: Exploring Frontiers in Education
figuring out where to start. Typically, tinkering challenges are set up for
the entire day. We don’t schedule times for Tinkering Challenges.
Students engage in Tinkering Challenges during free periods, lunch,
before and after school.
Tinkering Challenge - Ozobots
Ozobots are small robots that resemble R2D2. They have sensors on the
bottom that allow them to detect and follow lines as well as the color of
lines. This allows students to draw a track for the Ozobot to follow using
markers. Some color combinations have actions associated with them.
For example, if the Ozobot detects a blue-black-blue pattern, it will
increase its speed.
To start the Ozobots Challenge, we covered our makerspace work table
with white paper, displayed a sign containing our action statements,
drew a black oval in the shape of a race track, and provided the Ozobot
instruction manual. The manual contained different commands that
students could create by drawing specific color combinations. Once the
Challenge was setup, it did not take long before the paper was full of
different shapes, color combinations, and one student’s route designed
to find a way to make the Ozobots collide. As the lunch period ended,
students made plans to meet back to the makerspace and resume
tinkering with the ozobots.
Making Challenges provide students with a challenge to make something
specific. Sometimes Making Challenges are scheduled events. Time for
the challenges varies and is determined by the challenge organizers who
are facilitating it. This is the type of Challenge we run most often. Through
trial and error we have developed the following criteria for designing
Every student can contribute by sharing in the thinking and
The Challenge enables students to experience success quickly.
There are many ways to successfully meet a Challenge