Tinkering School

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B&GCLub - WM (Fall 2018)

Roving Vehicles - Week 7-8 - Boys & Girls Clubs - Willie Mays Clubhouse

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

THE GRAND FINALE!!! Our last two weeks at Willie Mays were a blast! Not only did we work hard, but we played even harder with our finished roving vehicles. Check out our progress!


Over the past 8 weeks our tinkerers learned a lot about using different power tools, steering mechanisms, and how to collaborate together on big, challenging projects.

Richae, Keyonie and Jadya finished attaching the front axle and wheels. Smiles all around :)


Meanwhile, another vehicle was nearing completion… it’s as long as a bobsled!

Chelsea and E’mya climb on board the bobsled!

Chelsea and E’mya climb on board the bobsled!


George and Ju’Darius finish some final touches before it’s time to attach the steering wheel.


Douglas puts on the finishing touches and its time to ride!


Our motorized vehicle team also worked super hard to complete their awesome rover.

A high powered drill was attached to some gears to provide forward momentum.

A high powered drill was attached to some gears to provide forward momentum.

A seat back is an important piece to add when you’re driving at warp speed!

A seat back is an important piece to add when you’re driving at warp speed!

We did it!

We did it!

After eight weeks of hard work and lots of fun, it was time to officially test ride our roving vehicles and show them off to parents, siblings and other guests! Whoohoo!!!


It’s been an incredible tinkering session! Thank you Willie Mays tinkerers for bringing your enthusiasm, creativity, hard work, and can do spirit! When we collaborate on big projects, just look at all the amazing things we can learn and accomplish along the way!

Zoooom zoom!

To check out more photos of all the fun, don’t forget to visit our Flickr page :-)


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)


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.


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.


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


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.)


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.


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!

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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


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 :-)


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.


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.

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

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


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!


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.


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?”

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!


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.


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!

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

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


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!

Roving Vehicles - Week 1 - Boys & Girls Clubs - Willie Mays Clubhouse

B&GCLub - WM (Fall 2018)Julie PeriComment

Vrooooooom, vroooooom!

We are back in full throttle this fall at the Willie Mays Club House, and we are excited to be here! We had so much fun last year learning and building with the kiddos and are already having a great time after our first class.

We started off the day by circling up and getting to know a little bit about each other and the Tinkering School Goals. We were excited to see a couple of returning Tinkerers. One of our favorite parts of the Tinkering School program is how many kids come back for more Tinkering!


Then we jumped right into creating this session’s group agreements. The kids were thoughtful, generous and kind in their ideas about what agreements they want to make for their program. They focused on treating the tools and others with respect, being safe, and listening. Once they had listed everything they wanted to include they all signed (including the collaborators), giving their word to these agreements for the session.


After everyone signed, we started our tool training. Our Tinkering School tool training focuses on three commonly used tools - clamps, chop saw and drills. While we do use other tools in our program, we teach the kids how to use them on an as needed basis.


Kenneth and Kai were naturals at creating this clamp bridge. Part of our tool training often includes a challenge of some sort for the kids to practice what they learned and demonstrate proficiency with the tools. This year we had the students make a bridge with clamps and wood. Marissa, Giselle and Blanca too crushed this challenge and had fun doing it!


Next we moved on to drill practice. Jadarius discovered the difference between the chuck drill he was using and the quick release drills Marissa and Giselle had, and the benefits of having a drill that can fit a variety of bits.


Then everyone had a chance to practice what they learned and attach two pieces of wood together. Richae and Keyonie worked along side each other, learning from each other’s mistakes and collaborating when they needed help.


And last, and certainly not least we learned about the chop saw. This tool is SO exciting (and sometimes a little scary) for many of our Tinkerers. They get to be acknowledged with the trust of handling a REAL power tool, and given the opportunity to take responsibility for their safety (with adult supervision). This is an opportunity for our students that they don’t get many other places in life, and part of what makes this program so incredibly special. And yes, Richae totally rocked it!


Join us next time to find out what special project we will be working on this session and see all the photos from the day here. Beep beep!

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