Tinkering School

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TUESDAY AFTER SCHOOL - WINTER 2017 - SHIPPING CRANE

Lindsay JonesComment

Today we began working on ideas to move a large container of water from one place to another. The idea originated from the concept of ships and containers at the port and possibly inspired by the large amounts of rain.

We spit into two groups. One worked on the carrier for the container and the other worked on the mechanisms to lift and move the container onto the carrier. Scarlett, Chloe, Ayush, and Louis each took turns measuring and cutting pieces of wood for the container

Others worked with Eddie to build the structure and mechanism to move our container. 

Everyone had a great day of learning how to do things properly and safely, working together as a group, and making progress on an exciting project. 

Can't wait til next week

Friday - Welding - Week 1

Piper AlldredgeComment

When Amanda asked me to pinch hit this afternoon for the first day of the second round of after school welding,  I said YES. 

Welding Workshops, aka Mistake Making Workshops, are a special kind of workshop. We get to spend a lot of time together practicing both one specific skill and one focusing on one of our TS goals--make mistakes and learn from them.

The workshop started just like any other, by going over the goals we strive for and establishing group agreements. Welding has a few policies specific to this workshop, things like a wearing safety glasses at all times, and a special ready call. After going over welding safety, we got right into small groups to put electrode to metal. When it comes down to it, this workshop is about practice, PRACTICE, P-R-A-C-T-I-C-E.

Alex perfecting his 'Ready to Weld' stance.

Alex perfecting his 'Ready to Weld' stance.

Sadie lays down her first bead! She noticed that at first the tip of the welding gun was too far away. This caused the electrode to get to long and break off!

Sadie lays down her first bead! She noticed that at first the tip of the welding gun was too far away. This caused the electrode to get to long and break off!

Lee getting started welding on his practice plate. I love the range of ages in welding workshops too. Something this hard is a great equalizer; both the 8 year olds and the 14 year olds will have great advice to give each other.

Lee getting started welding on his practice plate. I love the range of ages in welding workshops too. Something this hard is a great equalizer; both the 8 year olds and the 14 year olds will have great advice to give each other.

We also decided to add some intentionality to the reflection on mistakes this time around. We gave each welder a little notebook to record mistakes as them make them. Then, at the end of the workshop, we share and set goals for the next session. 

Jackson's goal for next week is to make one, longer, continuous weld, instead of many shorter welds. 

Jackson's goal for next week is to make one, longer, continuous weld, instead of many shorter welds. 

Rajan records reflections from his first afternoon welding.

Rajan records reflections from his first afternoon welding.

See y'all next week!

Tuesday After School - Winter 2017 - Day 1

Amanda SimonsComment

It's a New Year and a New Set of Humans at Tuesday After School! This week, we started by getting to know the space, the tools, and each other. 

Tool Practice this week was especially challenging (for me!) because the vast majority of the Tinkerers have been to a TS Workshop, Camp, or After School session before. With that familiarity, taking the time to refresh tool knowledge, skills, and rules often becomes a hard sell. A been-there/done-that attitude is sometimes a default, so the Collaborators have to take special care to emphasize the importance of taking the time to use our bodies to remember old things instead of just saying "I already know that!" On the upside of this challenge, however, is also the opportunity for us to put the teaching in the hands of the students -- I gave them lots of space to chime in and share their knowledge and also help me demonstrate during my explanation of the tools. 

But also, with familiarity comes another opportunity to get really silly (within reason) during tool practice. This group made a pretty impressive Clamp-A-Ma-Jig during clamp practice. They even incorporated some of the assembly squares as bracers. 

During drill practice, we experimented with different ways to reinforce rectangles -- by making triangles, by experimenting with the number of screws at each connection, and also by brainstorming with multiple and unfamiliar new brains!

At the end of the session, we took the time to practice with some other familiar tools -- crayons! We even determined if they were safe enough to use without safety goggles (the consensus was mixed, and I opted to keep mine on). Everyone took the time to reflect on the session and draw moments when they met one of our Tinkering School goals. 

Above is my favorite moment of the day! Ayush (a TS veteran, and at first a hard-sell for participating in tool practice yet again) shared with us what he learned during the session. During drill practice, his drill was on reverse when he was trying to drive a screw in. He pushed and pushed and couldn't figure out why the screw wasn't going in. Before discovering the mistake, he had tried so hard that the screw bored a giant hole in the wood, and he had a hard time removing it at the end of practice! He took the time to illustrate and also explain the importance of checking the drill settings, as well as let us know what happens if you try too hard to drive a screw when the drill is in reverse!

Next week, the Tinkerers get to learn about the project they will design and build! In the mean time, check out all the photos from the session on Flickr!

Tuesday - Mini Session Day 3!

Lindsay JonesComment

It's the final day of our mini session and we have a lot of work to do and not much time!

Last week we made big plans and got the basics done. Today we have to put everything together: together enough that the other team can relax in our project!

Team 3 had some extra hands today and got right to connecting the front and back frames of their Hammock Chair!

Jaro and Santiago are putting plywood down on their giant frame from last week so team three can have a surface to sit on!

After Team 3 got the frames together they realized that there was no way it was sturdy enough to hold even person so we started adding supports on. We had some joint supports and large angular supports, even a few more vertical supports in the front!

Here Q is chopping a big fat 4X4 to make some legs for Team 4's giant chair. 

Jaro and Santiago install the legs!

Team 3's Hammock Chair needed fabric to support 4 kids.  They decided to use screws and washers to attach the fabric. First when they tried to drill the screws through the fabric - the fabric just twisted all around the drill and screw!

3 iterations of screwing fabric down from today's final After School session!

A video posted by Tinkering School (@tinkeringschool) on

They tried clamping the fabric down super tight on either side of where they wanted to drill and the same thing happened. After awhile of trying different things out Noe figured out that if the fabric was tight and they drilled with a "go-stop-go-stop" pattern then the fabric wouldn't have enough time to wrap around everything! Soon the whole team was fastening fabric to the frame!

By the end of the session we had two super comfy structures for each other to relax in!  We talked about how our finished product matched (or didn't) our beginning design drawings.

It doesn’t look like anything. It’s mostly math
— Ellis - on her teams design plans

We also shared stories about which TS goals we accomplished - the majority of which were a combination of Collaborating and Making Mistakes that we learned from.

This 3 day mini challenge was short and sweet! Thanks Tinkerers!!!!

Tuesday- Mini Session Day 2!

Frannie DiBonaComment

We started off our both second and second-to-last day by introducing our project; split into two teams, and each team build a structure that the entirety of the other team can relax on! 

First off, we have to wish Noe a happy birthday. Happy birthday Noe!

After opening circle, Team 4 and Team 3 (named for the number of people in each group) started to plan! They both have amazing ideas for their project, but we'll reveal those next week. These are Team 4's plans.

Here are Team 3's!

Kaya and Noe grab some 5-footers for their project!

August and Santiago clamp and drill supports into their large frame! They collaborated extremely well on this frame and we're able to complete it quickly!

Q looks for the right sized wood for their add-on to their main project.

Q and Ellis lay out their pieces on top of their plans, and screw together one corner before it's time to end! They got down to business fast on their side project and definitely tried harder than usual!

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