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Tinkering is best defined as purposeful play that fosters creativity and discovery in children. Summit's tinkering program has its roots in Harvard's Project Zero 'Agency by Design' program which explores three core maker capacities: looking closely, exploring complexity, and finding opportunity. Summit's 2nd and 3rd graders visit the Tinkering Room in five-day cycles during studio time. The materials in the room are at their disposal to make as many things as they want. Projects often fall into three categories:

  • Make and Take, which are projects the students get to take home.
  • Take Apart, toys and electronics, which get recycled back into tinkering supplies.
  • Make and Put Away, which use all materials in any non-permanent way and are put away when the class ends. These projects also tend to help the tentative tinkerer think and manipulate things before committing to a project.