Connecting YQ & Home: Tinker Crate

Creators, manufacturers, constructors, builders and producers; These are some of the terms used to describe YouthQuest students in the month of April.

Combining creative thinking skills with Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM), students will build towers, bridges, racecars and more using everyday objects.

“Using STEAM concepts, we are challenging students to think creatively and build something out of nothing,” said YouthQuest Program Director, Cheryl Adkins. “It is important to combine art with STEM because it allows students to look at science, technology engineering, and math with a creative mindset.”

According to Adkins, by participating in activities such as building clothespin cars, students can use their creativity while developing an understanding of concepts such as how wheels and axles work.

Other activities include:

  • Using only 100 Legos, students are tasked with planning and building structures. This activity helps strengthen creative thinking and engineering skills.
  • Combining all the elements of STEAM, students are challenged to build sculptures using nuts and bolts.
  • Learning physics concepts such as lift, inertia and drag, then using those concepts to create a simple car that can sail through the air.

To extend students’ learning beyond YouthQuest, families can use some of the following activities to keep youth engaged at home:

  1. Ask questions to encourage creative thinking such as “What would happen if all the cars were gone?” or “What would taste better if it were sweeter?”
  2. Create your own Tinker Crate. Get a small box or bin and fill it with items such as buttons, clothespins or magnets and then have your students combine the items to create new inventions.
  3. Find different objects around the house and ask students to come up with 15 unusual ways to use the item.


YouthQuest’s middle and high school programs aim to teach STEM through short-term and long-term clubs. High school students at International Academy of Flint are participating in Studio on the Go where they learn about audio engineering. Students learn about music, recording equipment, song composition, recording, editing and mixing. At the end of the session, students will have a fully produced song.

YouthQuest is made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

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