FAQs

General

TinkRworks is a K-8 supplemental STEAM-curriculum provider to schools and social-service organizations.  We provide a leading-edge, hands-on STEAM program geared to transform learners to innovators.  Our approach empowers teachers to lead their students in experiential journeys using project-based learning.

TinkRworks uses a train-the-trainer methodology to certify instructors from schools and organizations to deliver STEAM projects directly to students using dynamic projects. Once instructors are trained and certified in our projects, they then deliver our projects directly to students in classrooms, remotely, or in makerspaces using a combination of our curriculum, our online learning environment, and our project materials. Using their learnings from schools along with the new concepts layered in by certified instructors, students create solutions and bring them to life using lights, sounds, and motion, all of which they code themselves.

We have two separate service lines that allow TinkRworks STEAM programs to be run in classrooms, virtually, or in makerspaces. Specifically, these two lines are as follows:

  • STEAM-X: This service line is perfect for educators and schools seeking to implement STEAM programs in classroom and/or remotely. Teachers receive PD after which they then deliver projects to students using a combination of TinkRworks standards-aligned curriculum, our easy-to-use learning environment (complete with our coding environment), and our unique project kits. Each student receives a project kit.
  • Integrated STEAM: Also known as iSTEAM, integrated STEAM is our makerspace solution. For educators and schools seeking to run STEAM programs in a makerspace, iSTEAM is the perfect solution as our curriculum integrates the use of toolsets in the space to allow unprecedented levels of design and fabrication opportunities for students and facilitators alike. If you’re looking to build a new space, upgrade an existing space, or seeking STEAM curriculum to run in your current makerspace, then please contact us and ask about iSTEAM.

Our overall program is the result of an intentional and intricate collaboration involving educators, administrators, engineers, and child-development specialists. Our uniqueness is in the holistic approach we take to deliver end to end STEAM experiences; we carefully weave together three elements to deliver unparalleled hands-on experiences to students:

    1. Layered standards-aligned STEAM curriculum for grades K-8
    2. Comprehensive professional development and support that includes hands-on build experiences and detailed walk throughs of the curriculum
    3. Individualized, multidisciplinary student projects, complete with all components

The real hook? Student-engagement levels are fantastic, as everything that students create they get to take home where they then have access to our learning environment (including our coding environment). As a result, the enrichment and enjoyment continues even after the project ends.

Curriculum

  • Yes! Each project is paired with a comprehensive curriculum where students experience fundamental background concepts through hands-on activities, build and code their projects, and more. Professional development is provided on the full project curriculum, and all curricular material is included. Formative and summative assessments are included as part of the project curriculum. All curricular materials are currently available in Microsoft format (Word and PowerPoint). Conversion to Google format is underway and should be ready for educators in 2021.
  • We would be delighted to provide you with samples in the form of “project playbooks” as we call them. Project playbooks provide a solid glimpse of our STEAM curriculum and contain the following elements:
    • Curriculum maps: complete with learning objectives, essential questions to answer, key vocabulary, unit descriptions, pacing guides, checks for understanding, explicit alignment to standards, and more.
    • Sample lesson plans: A representative lesson plan from the specified project.
    • Teacher activity guides: An example taken directly from one of our curricular modules.
    • Student worksheets: Worksheet examples linked to the lesson plan.
    • Assessments: An example of a formative assessment of the lesson plan.

Please contact us as we’d be happy to provide you with a playbook (or set of playbooks).

  • TinkRworks offers a variety of project options for K-8 students and schools. Our project catalog includes all available TinkRworks projects.
  • We have a comprehensive curriculum suitable—and standards-aligned—for K-8 students. The project catalog provides information regarding grade level suggestions and appropriate grade bands for each project.
  • No! In fact, the vast majority of teachers/facilitators who receive PD self-classify themselves as having either limited or very limited past experience with technology and/or coding. Any educator can teach TinkRworks project. Full, hands-on professional development will be provided on project builds, content and coding (if applicable).
  • STEAM is a bit different from STEM in that it not only features science, technology, engineering and math, but also includes the arts (A). Including the arts emphasizes a more creative and artistic approach to problem solving that encourages communication and collaboration. It allows students to be more invested in and take more pride in what they are creating. The artistic aspect of STEAM pushes students to show both what they have learned and who they are as individuals.

  • Absolutely! Curriculum is aligned to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) standards.  We are happy to do cross mappings to other standards as well on request.
  • Yes! TinkRworks has curriculum catered specifically for both remote and hybrid settings. The best part? Hands-on experiential learning remains fully in place even in remote environments. Additionally, our curriculum is designed in such a way to allow the transition of learning from a remote environment to an in-class environment and back to a remote environment if/as necessary. We’ve done our best to keep our curriculum as flexible and adaptable to meet your needs. As part of our PD, we review both in-class curricular elements as well as remote/hybrid curricular elements with facilitators so when it comes time for the to engage with their students, they can easily do so, regardless of the environment.
While instructional hours will vary by project, TinkRworks’ curriculum generally spans between 8 and 14 hours. However, the number of instructional hours can be increased based on inclusion of assessments, project portfolios, optional challenges and supplemental activities. TinkRworks curricula is segmented into modules. Curriculum maps for each project suggest pacing in terms of instructional minutes that may help facilitators craft their own plan for delivery. The TinkRworks Team will work with educators in professional development to determine the best course of action.

There is flexibility in how to teach TinkRworks projects based on individual school schedules and needs. Some of our school partners choose to deliver curriculum once a week in order to span a longer period of time, while others implement lessons every day in a dedicated STEM / STEAM class.

Each TinkRworks project is independent and does not require prior knowledge of other projects or outside content.

STEAM-X

  • Though not obvious at all, the “X” stands for both “X”ceptional (exceptional) and “X”cessible (accessible). We pride ourselves on the exceptional and accessible nature of all of our STEAM-X offerings.
  • Rest assured, the only thing that’s needed to run STEAM-X in your classroom are what you likely already have—tables, chairs, storage space (to house the projects that the students create), and access to electrical outlets (from time to time). We provide EVERYTHING needed (down to every screw, bolt, nut, screwdriver, wrench, etc.).  3D printers are NOT required to run STEAM-X.
  • Yes! All materials that a student will need for either in-person or remote delivery are included in their individual kit. For in-person delivery, facilitators are provided Toolsets, which are reusable sets of tools and materials used for in-person activities.
  • We currently have a number of schools and districts running STEAM-X fully remotely.  We have adapted our curriculum over the past year to make it “e-daptable” to deliver in classroom as well as in remote settings.  In both cases, student project kits are still at the heart of the experiential projects, but in a remote setting, students typically pick up their kits from school and then work on them at home through guided video-conference instruction from their teachers.  Students use our online learning platform to watch reference videos as needed and then use our online coding environment to bring their electronics to life.
  • Though STEAM-X project kits may be reused, we strongly recommend against reuse as each project has a high level of customization and self-expression involved.
  • We do not recommend sharing of project kits, since each project involves personalization and allows students to create their own custom creation. That artistic process helps foster high-level engagement and ownership of learning and is a trademark of the TinkRworks curriculum.
  • Kits are typically shipped as bundles, with 12 project kits comprising a single bundle.  In every bundle, there is a “13th” kit which is actually a “spare parts” kit containing relevant spare parts for the 12 project kits.
  • Schools or organizations can order kits as long as at least one teacher/facilitator holds a valid TinkRworks certification. Kits can be ordered on an as-needed basis.

Integrated STEAM (iSTEAM)

  • We’d be delighted to help you design a new space, upgrade an existing space, or provide you with an assessment of your current makerspace as it pertains to your learning objectives and student volumes that you’re targeting. For those seeking partnership to design a new space or upgrade an existing space, we’re happy to work with architects, general contractors, and of course both educators & administrators to lock down design requirements and ensure alignment across parties.
  • This is the #1 question we get asked as part of our iSTEAM program. Our honest response when we’re first asked this question is “we don’t know”.  What we can say with certainty, though is that we will work with you to determine your exact needs.  Our process actually starts with understanding your learning objectives, and how the space will be used to achieve those objectives.  Then, we speak to you and your identified facilitator(s) to understand capabilities they currently have and that you’d like them to build over time.  In conjunction, we work with you to gain an understanding of the student volumes and safety-constraints that you outlined.  Once we understand all of these items—and several more—we then work with representatives to either design a new space or fill-out an existing space.  All items above then dictate toolset choices and numbers which then procure, set-up, and develop the needed processes to run.  The final step, of course, is providing comprehensive PD to your facilitators on toolset usage and process refinement.  Finally, we never would leave you hanging, as our iSTEAM package includes a full toolset support/warranty.  We actually come onsite to service and repair your toolsets to ensure that you have the needed toolset uptime you require to hit your objectives.
  • Believe it or not, each and every project in our project catalog can—and is currently—run in makerspaces. We provide you with all base materials (including wood, plexiglass, 3D filament) as well as all electronic components for your makerspace ahead of time.  We then also provide you design templates (i.e., CAD files) that students can view and modify to fabricate project bases on the makerspace toolsets (e.g., 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC milling machines, power tools, etc.).  Students experience a level of design and fabrication opportunities that are truly unique as a result of iSTEAM.  Once fabrication is completed, students then assemble their components, integrate electronics, and code them to bring them to life.

Other

  • Cost varies depending on a variety of factors (# projects licensed, # of facilitators who receive PD, # of students, etc.). As a result, please contact us and we’ll be happy to speak to you to get an understanding of your implementation needs and then quickly provide you with cost estimates.
  • It’s okay! TinkRworks projects and curricula do not require a dedicated makerspace for effective delivery of our state-of-the-art projects. In fact, our STEAM-X service line is specifically geared for in-class or remote implementations. All materials that a student will need for either virtual or in-person instruction will be included in the student project kits and facilitator toolsets.
  • TinkRworks will work with schools and organizations on compatibility with existing technology. TinkRworks’ proprietary coding environment is available on iPads, Chromebooks, desktops and laptops (Mac or OS).
  • TinkRworks prides itself on its support model. Certified facilitators have full access to the TinkRworks Support Team via email, phone or live chat. All support requests will receive a response within one business day. Facilitators also have access to a support platform that contains an extensive repository of common troubleshooting questions and their solutions.