Tinkering School

come make amazing things with us

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!

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