We went to Shenzhen to attend Maker Faire in April, where we met some representatives from the Singapore Science Center. They were interested in the work we do and our approach to teaching. So they invited us to run a workshop for kids in Singapore. We conducted a making workshop at the Science Center in May 2014.
In the Exploration phase, the kids observed how a Carnival game was made and explored the different mechanisms involved, the materials used and the science behind the games. This phase helps the kids realize how simple the world around them is once they figure out how things are made, just by careful observation.
We then introduced the Karkhana design cycle, TMPI (Think, Make, Play, Improve). We wanted the kids to learn that making is an iterative process.
In the Expression phase, we gave the kids some materials like cardboard, glue, duct tapes and paper to make their carnival games. The kids express their ideas (communicate), they learn to work in a team (collaborate), they solve problems they face in making (think critically) and explore innovative ideas (creativity).
The kids made four games: Maze, Bowling, Strike Me and Catapult. The group that made the catapult iterated their design five times and by the end of the three hours, had a very robust shooting mechanism. The Maze team changed their design by user testing and observing how players played their game. All the groups used the TMPI cycle and improved their designs.
In the Exposition phase, the kids presented their games in front of their friends and parents and explained how they made the games. Everyone had a fun time not just playing the games but also exploring what science concepts were involved in the various games they built. It was great to observe the young makers bonding and sharing their techniques on how they created their games.