Tinkering School

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A mini clubhouse! 1st Post - Boys & Girls Club - Willie Mays Clubhouse

B&GClub -WM (Winter 2018)Brendon BellComment

Tinkering School is proud to announce an exciting new partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco! In 2018 we are piloting two after school tinkering programs: one with the Willie Mays clubhouse located in Hunters Point, and another at our tinkering workshop serving kids from the Mission clubhouse (check out their blog here). 

One of the first challenges and opportunities this partnership presented was we needed to figure out how to bring our tools and shop to the kids at Willie Mays clubhouse, rather than host them at our location. Our solution was to build a mobile tool cabinet/workshop that we can easily transport to any tinkering site.

 A work in progress. The cabinet is modular in order to fit through doorways and function as multiple tool stations.

A work in progress. The cabinet is modular in order to fit through doorways and function as multiple tool stations.

 Stacked up and ready for storage. The two sides lock together.

Stacked up and ready for storage. The two sides lock together.

The cabinet materials, tools, and supplies for the Boys and Girls Club tinkering program were generously funded by a grant from the Miranda Lux Foundation. A big thank you for helping us share our love of tinkering with more kids!

With our tool cabinet ready to go, we were excited to start tinkering. On day one, we got to know one another and learned about our four Tinkering School goals: collaborate and make friends, make mistakes and learn from them, try harder than usual, and make something bigger than ourselves. We also created some group agreements to outline how we will safely and respectfully treat each other, the tools, and the workshop.

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And finally the moment everyone had been waiting for! Tool training!

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At Tinkering School we first learn how to safely use the chop saw, drills, and clamps. These are the three tools we use the most. Later the kids will learn how to use additional tools as they become needed.  

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With our new skills, it was time to design and plan our project. The kids landed on the fun idea of building a giant dog house that then morphed into a mini clubhouse. We thought through the different dimensions - how tall do we want our clubhouse to be? How wide? What kind of siding do we want to use? Will it have windows?

We came up with a plan and a rough blueprint. Time to start measuring and cutting!

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Over the course of the past few weeks we assembled the frames for our clubhouse walls.  

 Malieke and Edward found they could be super productive working together by taking turns drilling and screwing.

Malieke and Edward found they could be super productive working together by taking turns drilling and screwing.

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Next up - sheathing (covering) our walls. The kids discovered the plywood panels helped stabilize the frames - a crucial part of constructing a strong mini clubhouse. Plus they were excited to get a ton of drill practice in!

 Another screw? Sure why not!

Another screw? Sure why not!

 Reggie standing in as a human clamp. Nice work!

Reggie standing in as a human clamp. Nice work!

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Our tinkerers learned how to use the jig saw to cut out the plywood sheathing panels. It quickly became one of the most popular tools.

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Our mini clubhouse is taking shape and it's looking awesome so far! Check back each week to watch our progress as we install windows, doors, a roof and more! 

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