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Roving Vehicles - Week 6 - Boys & Girls Clubs - Willie Mays Clubhouse

B&GCLub - WM (Fall 2018), Vehicles (Fall 2018)Brendon BellComment

This week we are one step closer to steering our roving vehicles! With frames made and axles put into place, we are ready for wheels- LET’S HIT THE ROAD! (Or at least the nearest sidewalk and baseball field)

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Today Jadya, Keyonie, and E’mya teamed up to get the “house rover” prepped for take off! Affectionately called the “J” team, they all agreed that the jigsaw is their favorite tool to use and that it makes their hands feel “tickly”. The “j” team worked on drilling holes for the front axle and used her super power focusing skills to cut ply for the flooring.

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Keyonie cuts through plywood with the jigsaw like a pro! George and Douglas worked on a super-sized vehicle that takes a whole team of people just to lift it off the ground! With persistence, focus, and collaboration they are nearly ready for a test ride.

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Drilling holes for the axles is tough!! George and Douglas work together on this one.

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Kai and Kenneth put their axle through the frame, then attached the wheels and collar shafts (with a little help from our handy dandy friend, the mallet.)

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Kai puts the axle and wheels on the wooden frame while Kenneth puts a collar shaft on the axle to make sure the wheels stay in place.

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And woohooo! We are ready to test our kart. Kai and Kenneth enjoyed a beautiful view after test riding their roving vehicle :)

Another fun day of tinkering work and play at Willie Mays. Check back next week to see where our roving vehicles take us!

Carnival - Week 6 - Boys & Girls Clubs - Mission Clubhouse

B&GClub - M (Fall 2018), Carnival (Fall 2018)Julie PeriComment

It’s week six already! The “Gravitron” and “Rocket” teams are making speedy progress. Soon our carnival rides will be spinning and swinging!

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Joana and David worked on attaching the flooring and the walls. David used the jig saw to cut out the tracing of the flooring that he drew while Joana added cross supports.

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Working on the gravitron required everyone’s focus and attention. After attaching the flooring, Wallace and Diego began to make pilot holes for where the outer wheels will attach to the gravitron. Wallace points to his hole to show Diego where to put his.

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The Rocket Swing team subdivided into two smaller teams to get our rockets closer to blast off! Naret, Yareth, and Jazmine worked on drilling holes for ropes to lift the rockets up off the ground. They also attached wooden supports for what will soon be the side rails to the rocket swings.

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Yareth and Naret added supports for the rocket swing railing.

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Ailey got creative and attached PVC pipe to the frame of one of the Rocket Swings.

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It’s decoration time! Annie used masking tape, markers, and cellophane to give the rocket some flare, while Amanda experimented with materials for the windows and walls.

Check back in next week to see the Gravitron and Rocket Swings in action!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tinkeringschool/albums/72157695964261670

Flying Dragons - Week 6

Flying Dragons (Fall2018)Brendon BellComment

Our dragons left the ground for the first time today! They may not have their wings yet, but our tinkerers wanted to test how well the dragons took to being in the air.

Before the testing began though, there was lots of building to be done!

 Asher and Jackson finished securing the roof on their team’s dragon.

Asher and Jackson finished securing the roof on their team’s dragon.

 Adele and Daphne also completed their awesome dragon egg nest!

Adele and Daphne also completed their awesome dragon egg nest!

 August recruited Jackson to help him build some cross supports for the dragon head he’s been carefully crafting.

August recruited Jackson to help him build some cross supports for the dragon head he’s been carefully crafting.

The team building the dragon that will carry riders inside its belly made lots of progress thanks to lots of teamwork and extra focus.

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Peter worked on repositioning some eyebolts that the zip line ropes will attach to and Nicholas learned how to use a hot knife for cutting through and sealing the ends of synthetic rope.

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 Olivia was excited to use the band saw! It’s tricky to keep the blade moving along a line, but with her sharp eye, she made some super precise cuts to make pieces for her chair.

Olivia was excited to use the band saw! It’s tricky to keep the blade moving along a line, but with her sharp eye, she made some super precise cuts to make pieces for her chair.

Meanwhile, the small “baby” dragon team worked hard to finish installing the hardware that the zip line ropes will attach to.

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And then the testing began!

 Whooo! It worked and Tommy proved it can support lots of weight!!

Whooo! It worked and Tommy proved it can support lots of weight!!

The team building the dragon that carries riders under its belly also completed their frame and suspension points. It was incredible to see their very large dragon body raise up into the sky!

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 The rider cockpit is going to be so much fun to ride in. There’s even a side window!

The rider cockpit is going to be so much fun to ride in. There’s even a side window!

 There’s something incredible about seeing a giant construction you build take form! And then to see it raise into the air…sheer excitement!!! :-)

There’s something incredible about seeing a giant construction you build take form! And then to see it raise into the air…sheer excitement!!! :-)

With only two more weeks left of our Tinkering after school session, our hardworking crew is eager to give our dragon skeletons wings, heads, tails, and so much more. The dragons have been slowly incubating over the past six weeks and you wont want to miss them as they hatch and take flight!

And don’t forget, all the fun photos from the day and previous weeks can be seen on our Flickr page!

Roving Vehicles - Week 5 - Boys & Girls Clubs - Willie Mays Clubhouse

B&GCLub - WM (Fall 2018)Brendon BellComment

Beep beep! Welcome back to the garage of our roving vehicles. Things have been moving fast around here to get our karts rolling. Literally! This week we started to attach wheels and work on our steering systems.

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Kai drilled out a whole where the steering wheel will be attached , while Keyone and Jayda worked on attaching the front wheels of their kart, and Brendon helped Douglas attach the back wheels on their long kart.

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E’Mya used a forstner bit to make a hole big enough for the axel to fit through. Sometimes an extra push is necessary to get the bit all the way through the wood and in this case George helped E’Mya with a partner push to make it through.

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Today’s goal was to ride the karts and the groups worked persistently to reach their outcome. Douglass, Ja’Darius and George worked on attaching the platform to their kart. Brendon helped Douglass with the jig saw and Ja’Darius and George focused on screwing it to their frame.

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In another group Richae and Jayda used a chuck drill with a large drill bit to make the wholes for their axle. Clamping the wood to the bench allowed them to work independently and keep two hands for safety on the drill at all times. Both Jayda and Richae used one hand to push down on the drill, which we teach at tinkering school to make sure we get the bit through the wood.

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Working down to the wire, Kai finished drilling out the last whole on his team’s kart and they got all of the wheels and steering attached!

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Marissa tested out the kart and, UH OH! It was dragging on the ground. Things to work on next week! That is why we TINKER. The group discussed possible solutions to the problem and chose to shorten the length of the kart. We added the next steps to our checklist, including a motor! and called it a day.

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See you next time! Check out more photos from the day below.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tinkeringschool/albums/72157701599846154

Carnival - Week 5 - Boys & Girls Clubs - Mission Clubhouse

B&GClub - M (Winter 2018), Carnival (Fall 2018)Brendon BellComment

Are you ready to get dizzy!? The Mission clubhouse teams made lots of progress on their spinning gravitron as well as their rocket ship swings!

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To make sure the gravitron doesn’t spin itself apart, the team decided it would be good to add some cross supports. The task provided an excellent opportunity to practice using clamps.

 WHOOO! It spins!

WHOOO! It spins!

One of the rocket ship crews was able to cut out their bottom hatch. They chose a square instead of a circle to distinguish their rocket from the other crew’s.

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Amanda and Joanna are now pros at using the jig saw. It’s so great to see kids quickly become proficient and comfortable using power tools. All that’s required is a little encouragement and lots of opportunities to practice!

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The circle hatch rocket team was able to successfully finish attaching their floor to the frame.

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After standing on it and testing its strength, the team discovered that they needed to cut and attach some more cross supports to prevent the floor from bending underfoot.

With a few more weeks to go in the session, the carnival rides are quickly approaching test riding time… so exciting! Stay tuned to see the kids hard at work next week and in the meantime visit our Flickr page to check out more of the tinkering action!

Flying Dragons - Week 5

Flying Dragons (Fall2018)Brendon BellComment

We have a zip line! It’s been a long held dream here at our Tinkering School workshop, and now we finally have an 80ft zip line running through the workspace :-) We couldn’t be more excited to have this enthusiastic crew of tinkerers help us test it out. One of the teams made the first attempt to suspend their dragon’s frame on the line.

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It took the coordination of everyone to raise it up and figure out how to attach the support ropes to the zip line pulleys.

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They quickly discovered amidst lots of laughter that with the weight of their dragon, a kid or two, and the sag of the line, that they would need to shorten their support ropes…

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There was lots more planning and fine tuning to be done as well. Some of the kids also tried their hand at using some pull saws to trim up some uneven joints on the frame.

The team constructing the “riding below” dragon also made lots of progress.

 Jackson showed August the rider cubicle that will be attached under the dragon’s belly.

Jackson showed August the rider cubicle that will be attached under the dragon’s belly.

 Adele joined Daphne’s project, helping build the dragon nest.

Adele joined Daphne’s project, helping build the dragon nest.

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August and Emma had a fun challenge in figuring out how to attach their dragon’s jaw to the rest of the head so it moves!

And the final dragon team nearly completed their dragon body.

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The team carefully measured and cut their plywood paneling and they were amazed to see it all fit together like a puzzle! It pays off to take time and make precise measurements and straight cuts.

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 Truman proudly demonstrating how the dragon horns he cut out will attach to the dragon’s head. They will also function as handles for the rider.

Truman proudly demonstrating how the dragon horns he cut out will attach to the dragon’s head. They will also function as handles for the rider.

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With only a few more weeks left in the session, the kids are super excited to begin test riding their dragons as well as figure out ways to collect their dragon eggs mid flight!

For more photos from the week and the rest of the session, you can visit our Flickr page. See you next week!

Roving Vehicles - Week 2 & 4 - Boys & Girls Clubs - Willie Mays Clubhouse

Vehicles (Fall 2018), B&GCLub - WM (Fall 2018)Brendon BellComment

In case the “vrrooom, vrooom” hints from our first post weren’t obvious, we are happy to share with you what we shared with our young tinkering crew from Willie Mays clubhouse…we’re going to be building moving, rideable, steerable vehicles! YAY!!! The kids were more than a little excited :-)

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But what would our vehicles look like? What parts do we need in order to build a vehicle? How many wheels do we want our vehicles to have? So many questions…and so we jumped into our design sessions after breaking into a few different groups.

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We first spent some time drawing our own individual ideas and sharing them in a “gallery” tour. Then the project collaborators helped the teams combine and focus their ideas into one blueprint that they all felt ownership of and excited about.

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 We’re so glad. We love tinkering too :-)

We’re so glad. We love tinkering too :-)

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We couldn’t begin building though till we transported all our lumber to our build site. The kids were thrilled to haul the wood up the path to the garden workspace. It’s the simple things that make a project fun sometimes!

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They all learned how to safely carry the eight foot long pieces by partnering up so one person was on each end. This eliminates accidental helicopters from hitting passerby’s.

 Hauling wood is also hard work and thirst inducing!

Hauling wood is also hard work and thirst inducing!

With all our lumber and materials ready, the teams began cutting and assembling their vehicle frames and tires.

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The kids had to use a really large drill bit to make a hole big enough for the axle that the wheels will spin on. It was a good opportunity for collaboration because it took a lot of force to push the drill down. “Can I have a partner push please?”

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 Attaching a steering wheel to the threaded steering column.

Attaching a steering wheel to the threaded steering column.

Assembling the tires was super fun! After attaching the rims, the kids used a bike pump to inflate the tubes. These are no ordinary, tiny wheels…the vehicles will be able to go off-roading with these puppies!

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There was lots of time for practicing drilling and screwing as the teams built their vehicles’ frames that the wheels, floor, roof and everything else will attach to.

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Another team also had a chance to complete their tool training and learn to use clamps, drills, and the chop saw effectively and safely.

 Great teamwork!

Great teamwork!

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 A pristine, freshly cut piece of lumber. Nice work Douglas!

A pristine, freshly cut piece of lumber. Nice work Douglas!

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And there was even still time to build the outer frame for the floor of the longest vehicle. It will hold all four team-members! It might resemble a bob sled by the time its completed…

There’s lots more fun tinkering to see from these first few weeks. We encourage you to visit our Flickr page and to check back with us next week. Who knows what this hard working and passionate crew will construct next!

Carnival - Weeks 2-4 - Boys & Girls Clubs - Mission Clubhouse

B&GClub - M (Fall 2018), Carnival (Fall 2018)Brendon BellComment

Step right up, step right up! You are in store for the most elaborate, the most exciting, the most inspiring event this side of the Mississippi. That’s right…it’s Tinkering School “Carnival Edition!”

This fall, the Mission Clubhouse will be building carnival rides - whoohoooo! which was pretty much the kids’ exact sentiments after Julie shared the design challenge :-)

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We split up into two groups and started drawing our individual design ideas. The design constraints this fall are to build one ride that spins, and one ride that swings. Annie and Amanda worked diligently on their design for the swinging ride.

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After completing the individual drawings, everyone shared their ideas with their project groups and then incorporated all of them into two big designs.

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Finally it was time to collect materials, measure, and begin cutting and attaching!

 Omar provided an excellent vertical reference for how tall a roof might need to be.

Omar provided an excellent vertical reference for how tall a roof might need to be.

Over the course of week 2-4 of our Tinkering session, the kids have had many opportunities to practice their building skills. It’s so great to see their confidence and comfort growing as they use large power tools, even ones that intimidated them initially like the chop saw!

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The spinning team came up with an awesome idea to build a “gravitron” (think of a big merry-go-round where the kids get plastered to the walls by the g-forces as they spin around). We’ll see how nausea inducing the ride ends up becoming…

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The tinkerers started out by creating a giant weblike frame structure that will support the floor and walls. The “legs” were sandwiched by two round plywood disks for extra support and to provide a place for an axle to go through.

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And “voila!” look how much they accomplished! They even attached caster wheels to the outside edge of each of the legs so the whole structure could spin. It worked!

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The swinging team also came up with a super exciting idea to have two rockets with riders sitting in them swing past each as if they were attached to the end of some giant scissors. With their plans in hand, they got straight to work cutting out frames and floor panels.

 Naret was excited to use a jig saw for the first time! She and Jasmine cut out a circle hatch out of the floor for riders to enter the rocket through.

Naret was excited to use a jig saw for the first time! She and Jasmine cut out a circle hatch out of the floor for riders to enter the rocket through.

 It lined up perfectly!

It lined up perfectly!

Jig saws can only cut by moving forward, not down. Rather than cutting a line to reach the circle outline, Jasmine used a large drill bit to cut a hole in middle of the plywood. That way the jig saw had a space for the blade to start from.

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 Amanda and Annie worked on constructing the frame for the second rocket. Such amazing teamwork!

Amanda and Annie worked on constructing the frame for the second rocket. Such amazing teamwork!

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Everyone in the team took turns trying out the jig saw. It was the first time using one for many of our young tinkerers. After their initial nervousness, it was awesome to hear several exclamations of “that was fun!” Its a joy for all of us as collaborators to see the lightbulb switch on for so many kids as they realize they are capable of using real tools to build amazing things they never dreamed they could make before.

It’s been a blast having the Mission clubhouse crew with us again and we can’t wait to see their progress next week! To see photos from the all the sessions so far, please visit our Flickr page. Stay tuned for more epic tinkering next week!

Flying Dragons - Week 4

Flying Dragons (Fall2018)Brendon BellComment

Our dragons may not be flying quite yet, but they took a giant leap forward today!

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The “riding above” team completed their frame/seat. The pieces fit together perfectly thanks to the team’s careful measurements. It may be the smallest of the dragons, but it will be exciting to ride on its back as it flies down the zip line which will be almost 80 feet long!

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This team is a picture of awesome collaboration at work. They took turns helping each other hold down wood while the other drilled, they generously shared their tools, and they made sure everyone’s ideas were heard. They’re so organized, they even started planning next weeks task list all on their own!

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The “riding under” team also made lots of progress. They completed their roof frame, cut out the roof and began attaching it all together. It was so exciting for Asher and Adele to finally get to use the jig saw too! Adele was nervous at first and wanted to wait before trying it out. At Tinkering School using a particular tool is always optional and we never pressure any kids to use them. We do gently encourage kids to face their fear and reassure them that we will be watching them and making sure they’re safe. As a result, we have witnessed countless moments of kids exclaiming “that was fun!!!” after moments before feeling too nervous to touch a saw or tool. Kids are more capable than they know and were on a mission to provide opportunities and experiences for them to discover just that :)

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 Calder helps August attach the supports to connect the sides of the head to make it “3D”. The head will eventually be attached to the neck and frame. Its going to be a very large dragon!

Calder helps August attach the supports to connect the sides of the head to make it “3D”. The head will eventually be attached to the neck and frame. Its going to be a very large dragon!

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Daphne tackled the very important task of building the dragon’s nest that the dragons will have to deposit their eggs into at the end of the zip line. Such a creative design and Daphne discovered it will provide lots of great drilling practice.

The “riding inside” team also finished the floor of their dragons belly and even had time to attach large eye-bolts that will be used to hoist the dragon in the air and attach to the zip line pulleys.

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Our young tinkerers had a lot of fun using the really big drill bits to make holes large enough for the eye-bolts. It’s fun to drill holes, especially holes so big you can easily see through them.

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So much fun was had by all this week! And wow did these teams make a ton of progress on their projects through the process. We can’t wait to see what they accomplish next week!

To see more fun photos from today and previous weeks, be sure to visit our Flickr page!

Flying Dragons - Week 3

Flying Dragons (Fall2018)Brendon BellComment

Rawwwr! With our tool training and design planning behind us, this week we had all a full session of tinkering and building! We met with our three dragon groups for a few minutes to make sure we were all on the same page, and then it was time to get our tools and materials.

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The kids raided “scrap alley” for pieces of plywood. Some were really heavy and long so all hands were needed.

When plywood pieces aren’t the perfect size, we have multiple different saws we can use to cut them into the shape we need. Jackson learned how to safely use the band saw and had lots of practice cutting straight lines as he had multiple pieces he needed to trim.

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August used the jig saw again to continue cutting out the shape of a dragon head for his team’s project. He learned how he can cut more intricate designs with the jig saws’s smaller blade.

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And Daphne had lots of practice using the chop saw cutting up pieces for the dragon egg nest. As the dragons fly down the zip line, they will pick up a dragon egg midway and deposit it in their nest at the other end.

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Adele and Asher teamed up to construct the body for the “riding under” dragon. They used a variety of clamps to help hold the pieces of wood together and took turns screwing and drilling. So efficient!

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Meanwhile, the “riding inside” dragon team got to work building their own frame and attaching a solid floor that could hold up multiple riders. There were lots of opportunities for everyone to practice their drilling technique.

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The team also came up with an ingenious way to craft a curved body for their dragon. The PVC pipe is attached to the floor with long bolts.

 Olivia estimates if she’ll still fit inside.

Olivia estimates if she’ll still fit inside.

The “riding above” dragon team also made lots of progress constructing the ribs and frame of their dragon.

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Holding down a piece of wood is accomplished with a variety of methods: clamps, a vise, a helping hand, and as Truman demonstrates, using our entire body weight can be helpful sometimes too!

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The satisfaction of precision in action :-) A simple frame built precisely can be more challenging to construct than we might think.

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Juliana also had a chance to try out the band saw. Sometimes with a longer piece, a helping hand is needed. Thanks Truman! While Juliana guided the wood through the blade, Truman kept his hands flat underneath the board, holding it up level with the table.

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We saw so many examples of great collaboration and teamwork this week and the projects are rapidly taking shape as a result. We’re super excited to soon be testing out how well these dragons fly down the zip line. To see all the fun, be sure to check back next week and don’t forget to visit our Flickr page!

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