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Update: This idea is being built into a prototype! You can follow the Google Doc we are working on at the link below. Please add suggestions and comments here to help us progress. Thanks!
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ALx5gJSnuoE-rpFBag5iC8kq6xZEl6fCpbwTk85K8YI/edit?usp=sharing

Chris Good The Exploratorium Tinkering course on Coursera that Trever mentioned below is a wonderful resource and can be done with few materials and tools.  There are some great books, such as Make:Tinkering which are intended for kids but are full of simple suggestions for tinkering activities which I believe will free the minds of teachers and encourage them to tinker with their students.

Trever Reeh I generally give students opportunities to learn to properly and safely use the tools and processes available to them in our makerspace with a partially directed activity to build a project. I love projects like those from the Exploratorium Tinkering Lab - scribblebots, linkages, and others where kids use the same sets of materials and tools to build their own individual creations.
Once kids are familiar and comfortable with the tools and the space, we move to more open ended projects where they need to create something to solve a problem. Some examples of open-ended problems we have worked on are - "Create a modern item based on ancient Roman culture", or after reading the novel Hatchet, "Build a better hatchet to help you survive in the woods."