CFI Okanagan’s Kids for Inquiry program uses the DIY.org website.

DIY.org is a website that helps kids learn skills of many different kinds, and share their work with others. It’s easy to use. With a parent’s help, kids sign up to the website. They do not use real names and do not provide any private information. An adult account is associated with each child, so you can see what your child uploads and also make sure that they do not share any information that should be kept private. The adult has to provide confirmation of their own identity, using a credit card (which is not charged).

Kids choose a skill they’d like to work on. Let’s say they choose the Astronomer skill. Each skill has a number of different challenges associated with it.

The kids then decide which of the different challenges they’d like to try. Some of them can be done at home (with or without parental help); some they can do at a KFI gathering. In May, for example, KFI collaborated with the Royal Astronomical Society to make solar viewers and sundials — while learning about the related science.

When the kids have completed each challenge, they take a photo or video and upload it to the website to share it with the world! When they’ve completed three challenges associated with a skill, they earn a patch for that skill. (Sew-on patches can be purchased at the DIY Market for $4 each, plus shipping.) They can, of course, go to complete more challenges.

The skills at DIY.org are very varied; there is something for everyone — IllustratorCamperWriter,Sailor… They even have a Philosopher patch! KFI focuses on the science-related skills, such asPhysicistBotanistEntomologistMeteorologist. However, plenty of the other skills and challenges lend themselves to learning about science too. The Bake a Loaf challenge provides an opportunity to learn about chemical reactions; the Meditation challenge provides an opportunity to learn about the brain; the Develop Strength challenge provides an opportunity to learn about the physiology of muscles.

As well as learning about science, and engaging in projects and experiments, it’s great for kids to realize that science doesn’t happen only in the lab. Scientific thinking can be applied to the world all around them!