Tinkerama is an initiative to help encourage children to learn science, math, and technology with hands-on learning and by building things.
Tinkerama conducts workshops around the city – in schools, in museums, and we are regular exhibitors at fairs and tech festivals.
Tinkerama also offers some cool kits that you can get to try hands-on learning at your pace.
Most parents will naturally wonder what sets us apart and why we should be the organisation that introduces your child to STEM. In a comprehensive and thought-provoking interview with the founder, Smitha Pisupati, a passionate engineer and maker at heart, we talk about the inception of Tinkerama and the thought process behind it.
1. How did the idea of Tinkerama come to you?
Smitha: This idea came to me when I was living in the US. When I was there the maker movement was really big. I volunteered at the tech museum of San Jose in maker-oriented activities. Kids would come to the museum and we would set up pop-up stalls, where we would give them challenges and materials and let them tinker with it. There I saw the kids rise to the challenge and build something and the way that their eyes lit up when the stuff they made worked was priceless. That is where the idea of Tinkerama was born.
2. Students already have online classes where they study the subjects of STEM, so why should they join Tinkerama’s workshops?
Smitha: Unfortunately, even today most of the online classes that happen through schools or educational institutions are very theoretical and rote based. While the students receive the information, they do not exactly learn through that. Tinkerama does it in an entirely different way. Through our methodology, students’ questions and creativity are the focus of every activity. Workshops are not just online classes, they are hands-on online classes geared towards independent thinking.
3. Why is hands-on learning so important for a child’s growth?
Smitha: When you learn through hands-on learning, you are not just learning concepts. You are also interacting with materials and understanding how they behave and how to put different materials together to build something. You also learn how to use common materials in uncommon ways and that expands your mind and equips you to solve problems that you have never seen before.
4. If a student is not interested in STEM, should a parent still enrol them for Tinkerama’s workshop?
Smitha: The mantra at Tinkerama is that you don’t know something until you try it. It’s always a great idea for parents to let their child try a new class before making up their mind about it. I do have free trial classes running every month, I also have short-term courses which are one hour, one weekend, one month kind of courses, where you can sign up and give it a go.
5. Could you guide us through your workshops and tell us a little bit more about them?
In every workshop we build something from scratch, starting with a hands-on activity.
Once the activity is underway, we talk about the underlying concepts in an interactive way.
There is also plenty of scope for innovation, and self-exploration in all the activities.
We’re experts in handling concepts from physics, mechanics & electronics! You will find us teaching forces, simple machines, gears and pulleys, circuits and more!
6. After the workshops with Tinkerama, did the students show a greater interest in the field of STEM?
Smitha: I have parents who tell me that after the workshop, they have observed their children pick up projects on their own. Also, the child demonstrates grit by sticking with the project till they complete it!. So, the learning lasts way beyond us ending the zoom meeting and the curiosity of the mind is already triggered and the learning keeps happening.
Tinkerama specialises in making sure that children are having fun while learning electronics, mechanics and other important topics of STEM. Our hands-on, interactive workshops pave the way for your child to increase their interest in STEM-related fields.