Asia’s First Tinkering Studio Launched in Singapore

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Science Centre Singapore (SCS), with support from Tote Board and in partnership with world renowned science centre The Exploratorium, officially launched Asia’s first Tinkering Studio early this year. The first of its kind in the region, the studio encourages learning through creative experimentation, with hands-on exhibits and activities that allow visitors to ‘think with their hands’. The official launch of The Tinkering Studio was graced by guest-of-honour Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Foreign Affairs.

With over 15 years of experience in developing tinkering activities with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, The Exploratorium provided insights into the design, activities and visitor experience at The Tinkering Studio. Through a series of ongoing workshops and activities targeted at teachers, students and families, The Tinkering Studio offers visitors the chance to explore the world around them through their hands.

For a long time, our philosophy of education has centred around the notion of producing intellects who are able to think with their head. There is growing notion that progress of world depends considerably to those who are able to create something with their hands.  ‘Think  With Your Hands’ is now new trend in the public education of science. In Malaysia, there has been growing awareness and organisation of  these activities in the Klang Valley

Highlights of The Tinkering Studio in Singapore include Marble Machine, a 13.6m2 peg wall on which visitors, using materials ranging from tracks, pegs and bells, are challenged to construct unique paths to transport marbles into a catch, as well as Scribble Bot, which allows visitors to combine markers, batteries, blocks and motors to create a one-of-a-kind contraption that churns out unpredictable patterns when switched on.

Following the launch of The Tinkering Studio, SCS has plans to continue the partnership with The Exploratorium through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which will see both institutions actively involved in encouraging and supporting the growth of the tinkering movement in the region. With the MOU, SCS hopes to become Asia Pacific’s tinkering hub and a hotbed for learning through exploration and experimentation.

In conjunction with launch of The Tinkering Studio, SCS also signed an MOU with The Institution of Engineers, Singapore (IES) to strengthen collaborative efforts in promoting science and engineering among the public through talks, forums, symposia and other forms of outreach events, such as robotics competitions and ‘Meet-the-Engineers’ sessions. The MOU will also see joint efforts for nationwide events such as National Engineers Day and the Energy Innovation Challenge, as well as an upcoming Engineering Exhibition at SCS.

Associate Professor Lim Tit Meng, Chief Executive of SCS said, “SCS is strongly committed to establishing purposeful partnerships with leading industries and institutions to provide best-of-breed and specialised technical know-how in all its attractions, exhibitions and programmes. Tinkering involves project-based discovery, and encourages learning through making connections as opposed to step-by-step guidance. In developing the
next generation of thinkers, scientists and engineers, we need to start young and engage minds in fun-filled science exploration through ‘thinking with their hands’.”

“Singapore’s future competitiveness as a value-creating economy pivots on the ability of our younger generation in embracing engineering. As the national society of engineers in Singapore, IES continuously seeks to expand our partnerships with the aim of inspiring a new generation of enthusiastic engineering talents, who will be crucial in supporting our future economic, infrastructural and societal transformation,” said Er. Chong Kee Sen, President of IES.

The Tinkering Studio is located at SCS Hall E, and admission is free for all SCS ticket holders. More information is available at http://www.science.edu.sg/exhibitions/Pages/TinkeringStudio.aspx

About Science Centre Singapore

Science Centre Singapore is a non-formal educational institution and a leading regional Science Centre. A custodian of creativity and innovation, the Centre has captured the evolution of scientific developments through unique and relevant exhibitions and shows.

The Centre houses 14 exhibition galleries with more than 1,000 exhibits, and another 30,000 sq metres of outdoor exhibition space showcasing the Waterworks exhibition, Ecogarden and Kinetic Garden. Other Science Centre Singapore attractions include the Omni-Theatre, Snow City and KidsSTOP™.

The Centre and its partners have played a pivotal role in transforming the way students and the public interact with and learn about science & technology. Together with the Omni-Theatre and Snow City, it has engaged and enriched more than 29.5 million students and visitors since 1977.

The Science Centre, Omni-Theatre and Snow City received 1.30 million visitors for FY2014/2015. For more information, please visit www.science.edu.sg.

About The Institution of Engineers, Singapore

The Institution of Engineers, Singapore (IES) was formally established in July 1966 as the national society of engineers in Singapore. IES is the premier engineering institution in Singapore and is called upon by the Government to provide feedback on professional engineering matters.

IES is well represented among the faculty members of the major engineering institutions of higher learning in Singapore. Through close collaboration with the local universities and polytechnics, IES organises courses, seminars and talks for engineers and IES members to advance the continuous development of engineers.

The Institution maintains close links with professional organisations of engineers regionally and throughout the world. These include organisations in Australia, China, Japan, United Kingdom and the United States. The Institution also represents Singapore in the ASEAN Federation of Engineering Organizations (AFEO) and the Federation of Engineering Institutions of Asia and the Pacific (FEIAP) in promoting goodwill and fellowship among all engineers in ASEAN and the Asia-Pacific region.

Through its Engineering Accreditation Board (EAB), IES obtained full signatory status in the Washington Accord (WA) in June 2006. The entry grants IES the authority to represent Singapore, the first country within the ASEAN region which has obtained full signatory status in the WA, to vet education systems under the WA mutual recognition framework.

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Written by:      
Ms Wee Hui Bieh, AFMSA, July 2016

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