Tinker aims to offer elementary level students an alternative to traditional lesson plans and homework assignments with comic books and build-it-yourself toys.
Sam Sanistreet, Shim Smilansky, and Johanna Cranston — two designers and an illustrator, respectively — belong to Mint Digital‘s research team called Foundry, which challenges recent graduates to design a consumer product and execute it. This year’s mission was to ‘Sustain Your Future,’ and so the three decided to “sustain the next generation of tinkerers.” Launched this week, their Kickstarter campaign intends to raise about $13,000 to fund production costs and a website.
Through a graphic narrative called “Burning Rubber,” Tinker’s first kit teaches the principles of aerodynamics, potential energy, and combustion engines. A fold-out poster in the back of the comic book contains instructions on building the miniature muscle car, based off the Dodge Challenger. The idea is that, in the practical application of building a rubber-band-powered car, kids will gain a deeper understanding of the reading material. The car is made from laser-cut plastic, designed to show off its mechanical innards.
Future kits may involve lessons on science, history, and art, the team explains:
Our challenges are to keep our crazy ideas affordable for parents, to abide by the Royal Mail size constraints, and to make sure each kit is self-contained.