Tinkering School

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Thursday After School - Day 2

Nathan SavoyComment

The second week our small but mighty group of Thursday Tinkerers arrived with one repeated question as they arrived at the shop, 

What are we going to build?!?

or similarly,

What’s the project?!?

We assured everyone we would release the project and dive into design as soon as we started. In our opening circle we reintroduced ourselves and took an opportunity to review our goals which the kiddoes recalled without hesitation or prompt (a good sign for weeks to come). We shared that this sessions project idea was inspired by combining Caroline's love for puppets, my own love for theater and our shared love for story telling! Then with baited breath and a finger-tapping drumroll we announced our project: A Puppet Theater

We then gave the group a solid 10 minutes to design in silence. Letting their pencils be the voice for all the ideas swimming around in their heads. Our only prompt being, " Draw what you think a puppet theater looks like. Think about if there is anything a puppet theater needs?" 

Most every one went straight to drawing. Ideas spilling over every part of the page and (often onto the reverse side). 

Too much in my mind to stop: Ashen was so into designing a system to illustrate how her dragon puppet would blink that she brought it to our sharing circle to keep working out its complicated details.

Too much in my mind to stop: Ashen was so into designing a system to illustrate how her dragon puppet would blink that she brought it to our sharing circle to keep working out its complicated details.

With our minds exhausted and our mouths ready to share, we regrouped to present our ideas and come up with a list of collective ideas that would inform our groups direction and help us create a master plan. 

Drawing speaks for itself: Wolf points to his design to illustrates his idea.  

Drawing speaks for itself: Wolf points to his design to illustrates his idea.  

Dimensions can be hard: Ryan uses his hands to show the group how big he thinks a part of his puppet should be. 

Dimensions can be hard: Ryan uses his hands to show the group how big he thinks a part of his puppet should be. 

Articulated moving parts: Portia moves her's arms and legs to demonstrate her idea of working joints.

Articulated moving parts: Portia moves her's arms and legs to demonstrate her idea of working joints.

In the end it was pretty clear that our project required two major (and very different components): puppet(s) and some sort of theater. 

Idea Dump: a collection of our favorite ideas we shared with each other. 

Idea Dump: a collection of our favorite ideas we shared with each other. 

We decided to end the day a with a challenge, "Use the shop scraps to come up with different ways to make moving parts for our puppets." This offered us an opportunity to explore the constraints of our project's main material (wood) and a chance to become more familiar with the drills. 

Returning tinkerer, Portia knows just where to find the wrenches to tighten her lag-bolt joint but finding the right size still took a few tries. 

Returning tinkerer, Portia knows just where to find the wrenches to tighten her lag-bolt joint but finding the right size still took a few tries. 

A life sized puppet takes form in under 10 minutes. 

A life sized puppet takes form in under 10 minutes. 

Aj discovered that when layering screws his legs ran into each other, preventing them from coming together. 

Aj discovered that when layering screws his legs ran into each other, preventing them from coming together. 

Ryan demonstrates how his joint can move into the 'splits' (just like his own legs)!  

Ryan demonstrates how his joint can move into the 'splits' (just like his own legs)!  

The entire group really got into Wolf's idea for a moving jaw. Caroline offer's some feedback of how we could expand the idea and make it more stable. 

The entire group really got into Wolf's idea for a moving jaw. Caroline offer's some feedback of how we could expand the idea and make it more stable. 

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