Tinkering School

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Spring Bowlercoaster 2014

BowlerCoaster Day 3 : Loop-the-loop

Spring Bowlercoaster 2014Josh Rothhaas

Today was a day of small teams, spin off projects, and looping the loop. One team took on connecting the loop to the current track. This was massively complicated and involved finding that tangential line, disassembling portions of the loop, lining up a cut, using a first cut as a template for a second cut, and fudging it a bit at the end. Another team began work work on the initial designs for the cart/chain/delivery mechanism that will get our bowling ball back up the starting hill after making a run. This will be essential for completing the full roller coaster loop and running the thing non stop at the end of the week.

Showing off the next section of track.
We break for park.
And come back to focus on precision.
And played with our friends.

BowlerCoaster Day 4: Closing the Gap

Spring Bowlercoaster 2014Sean Murray

We began today with a working loop-the-loop, portions of a post-loop segment and some solid concepts for the lift that would take the bowling ball to the top of the coaster.

We also had huge gaps. With only two days left to work, we focused ourselves entirely on closing the Northern Gap and the Southern Gap and creating a full circuit before we disassemble our Bowler Coaster on Friday.

It's hard to get across how much work our team of 10+ year-olds accomplished today. They built over seventy feet of track, made of hundreds of pieces of wood, connected with thousands of screws. 

As of this writing, we have closed the Southern Gap and have one working lift. Tomorrow we'll go for the complete circuit and two working lifts. 

Stay tuned.

BowlerCoaster Day 2 : Ambitious

Spring Bowlercoaster 2014Josh Rothhaas

Today was a day of height and high ambition. Our first section of track takes a classic lazy first turn before heading for a 40 degree fall into what will hopefully connect to a 4 foot tall loop-the-loop. It was another day of high minded collaboration and working together well. By working together well, I mean at the highest level of abstraction and at the simplest level of spacial awareness. We have teams of kids who have taken laser like focus on simple objectives like cut the wood or make 25  identical track pieces. The group's collective ability to see that the repetitive work of the now as an enabling force in the bigger and longer term picture of the BowlerCoaster is powerful and will have major and positive ramifications for the week ahead.

Then the next goal was going up.
Aidan plays the roll of bowling ball.
Major connections are made.
We all have a go at the jigsaw
And something takes shape.
The quarter sections become halves.
And the halves become a whole

Tomorrow has the big project of connecting our first drop with our first feature. We have no idea if it will work, an essential element in a great Tinkering School project.

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