So... what does this have to do with Tinkering Summer Camp???
(Click, tap, or swipe to view the above slideshow of photos)
(Click, tap, or swipe to see more photos in the slideshow above)
So... what does this have to do with Tinkering Summer Camp???
(Click, tap, or swipe to view the above slideshow of photos)
(Click, tap, or swipe to see more photos in the slideshow above)
What has four legs, two wings, stripes and a barbed tail? If you guessed a "Tigray" you were correct! This week, we're building Wild Animals and by wild we mean mashups. In addition to the Tigray (Tiger+Stingray), we're building an Elephant+Bee (still to be named). Imagine a trunk, six legs, large ears and a stinger. I can't wait to see how these creatures shape up!
Day one of Tinkering School is largely devoted to making group agreements related to camp safety and teamwork (e.g. always walk, treat others as they want to be treated) as well as going through tool training. Every tinkerer learns how to use our three main tools: a chop saw, cordless drills, and clamps.
We met in two groups to sketch ideas for our animals and to begin to write out a plan for building them bigger than ourselves. Our goals for the week include collaborating and making friends, trying harder than usual, building something bigger than ourselves, and making mistakes and learning from them.
To see more photos from today, check out our Flickr page.
Click through the slideshow below for a few more photos from today.
The storm we've all been waiting for has finally arrived! Soon everyone's hunger will be satiated as watermelons, doughnuts and pizza rain down on our workshop. With no time to lose, our crews jumped into putting the final touches on their projects.
Our catapult team experienced an exciting structural failure when trying to move the catapult into the adjacent room. With the weight of the catapult and several builders on the moving platform, the side rail was no match for the force on the wheel's axle. Our tinkerers proudly met the Tinkering School goal of "making mistakes and learning from them" :)
Meanwhile our mouth team worked hard on the track of the digestive tract tunnel.
After giving the giant mouth giant teeth, all that was needed were giant lips! This group easily met the Tinkering School goal of "build something bigger than ourselves."
And it was finally time to decorate our huge food cloud. It was a full team effort to dress it up in white cloth. There was also enough time to also complete the trap door mechanism.
And then...dun dun dun...!!!!!
Parents and grandparents arrived to witness an epic food storm. After a brief safety discussion, it was time to see the giant cloud full of food raise off the floor and into the sky. The humidity levels went up (mostly due to Tinkering staff hoisting the heavy cloud on pulleys) and up went our giant cloud amidst lots of cheering!
As we soon discovered, the volume of food was so great that as soon as the cloud raised off the ground, the trap door gave way and spilled the food onto the ground. Our cloud appeared to want to be more of a cornucopia than a cumulonimbus.
Next up, it was time to feed our giant mouth by launching our recently harvested food via catapult!
5...4...3... Everyone yelled the countdown!
The giant mouth open and closed in anticipation of a delicious meal!
Aiden pulled hard on the cord, then he pulled harder, and then he pulled as hard as could and still the catapult lever didn't budge... Then we had one of our oldest tinkerers pull the cord and still no luck! We discovered though that with a little nudge of the lever while someone else pulled the the cord, the catapult would let loose and do its job. FOOD AWAY!
Our first watermelon didn't quite make it into the mouth, but after moving the catapult closer, the giant mouth was finally satisfied - along with our dedicated and excited group of tinkerers!
What a week! And it was all made possible by all of our tinkerers collaborating and working together, and trying harder than usual. These are two more of our Tinkering School goals and it was a pleasure to watch this crew take them on whole heartedly. I have no doubt these kids will be creating and building many more awesome and imaginative creations in the near future. Happy munching!
To check out all the action from the week, be sure to visit our Flickr page!
Shiver me timbers! It's time to walk the plank. Or rather, the balance beam, as our pirate tinkerers prefer. And onward through the booby trap, with its disguised safe route, leading to a hideaway complete with trap door and tunnel. But that's not all! Away in a courtyard lumbers a towering ship with mast and pirate flag. And lest you get too complacent, our cannons will fire and we'll have you ducking below the deck of the vessel. Or climbing the ladders to take in the view of our crow's nest.
So it is with mixed emotions that our camp week comes to an end. When we asked at closing circle in what ways students had achieved the Tinkering School goals, several tinkerers commented on the many friends they had made and the experiences they had had working in teams to build large structures.
But there were also little things that surprised and delighted me and showed that our tinkerers were full of creative verve: the illustrations along the ship's hull, the colorful gems on top of the treasure chest, the hand-written signs taking on pirates' personas, and the figurehead leading the ship.
We started the week by hearing a poem written by yours truly to inspire us on our pirate journey. Here are a couple of stanzas:
‘Cause we’re pirates, we arrr!
We sail near and far
Following the trusty north star
We’ll steal all of your gold
A pirate’s life doesn’t get old
But sometimes the ship’s a bit cold
So we’ll throw on our jackets
Take a look through our ‘scope
And see just whose treasure we gets!
Many a pirate knows that ships and hideaways come and go. And thus we found ourselves dismantling our creations (thank you, family members and loved ones for helping!) and returning the materials to their original states. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle may be a modern concept but it's one even pirates find useful. Many a screw and 2x3 were transformed from fantasy back into metal and wood for the next journey that awaits.
And even though our ship and hideaway are now a fond memory, the experience will live on within us...
A pirate's life for us!
So much delicious learning and progress was cooked up today by our tinkering crew!
Our digestive tunnel team learned how to drill large holes and screw in eye bolts as part of a system to move food along the digestive tract. Keep on moving, keep on moving. More food! Yum!
Hard at work making a complicated mechanism that moves the jaws of the mouth simultaneously!
To collect extra food scraps that miss the mouth, it was decided a portable giant plate and utensils would be necessary.
Never enough food!!!! This has been the most hunger inducing tinkering week in memory.
The catapult team also made lots of progress on their jumbo sized food launching machine. Lots of collaboration makes building more fun and productive!
There was even time to make a crane that will pick up and transport food to the catapult that has fallen from the cloud.
And the cloud team is about to attach the trap doors that will release a deluge of delicious delicacies!
Make sure to check back and see this hard working crew's creations come to life! A storm of food is fast approaching. And don't forget, theres even more photos on our Flickr account from the day and rest of the week. We're looking forward to a giant feast tomorrow!
Our ship is about to set sail, our Hideaway is almost complete! Today we performed the delicate operation of flipping the giant hull of the ship and installing the massive mast. We made major progress on the tunnel system as well, so there's a chance we'll actually be finished in time!
We spent some time in morning circle talking about our goals for the week, and reflecting on the fact that our goals do not include finishing anything. They include trying harder than usual, collaborating, making mistakes we learn from and building bigger than ourselves. We dearly want to finish though! We'll use the other goals to propel us toward finishing, and no matter how far we get, we'll have a good story to tell, and a set of more important goals to think about.
More photos on Flickr
Wow! Our young foodies made huge progress today on their projects and most importantly had a blast along the way.
The catapult team successfully tested their food launching prototypes...
The cloud team finished the second face of the giant cloud that will soon be suspended in the air. Just needs a little more evaporation...
And food! Lots of food...yum!
Originally a licorice stick, this tasty treat morphed into the doughnut on the right.
Our mouth and digestive team discovered that with just two pulleys and two operators the jaw was difficult to maneuver in a coordinated manner.
They tinkered and tinkered and experimented and eventually came up with an awesome design to make the jaws of our huge mouth move simultaneously!
Everyone could hear the gleeful shouts of "IT WORKS!" It's one of our favorite tinkering phrases along with "What if...!?"
A giant mouth has to have giant teeth of course.
With only two more days of building left, the anticipation is building for an exciting feast of flying food! Stay tuned and check out our Flickr page for more photos of the excitement from today and the rest of the week!
The winds of yum are picking up! Flying food is on the horizon! How many super cheesy puns can I try to come up with... yes that was also pun intended :-P
Our food minded tinkerers made tons of progress today on their projects. With tool training behind us, they had the whole day to build and they made the most of it!
Our catapult team completed several mini prototypes to discover what the most effective food launching system might look like.
In the next days build sessions, the catapult team will settle on one or two designs and then jumbo size them to be able to launch our huge food great distances.
Our food team? Well they got started baking right away. I'm not kidding when I say that their food creations were making me hungry...
The cloud crew got to check off several tasks as they finished the first side of their giant cloud.
To cut out the cloud shapes, we learned how to use a new tool, the jig saw! With its small blade, no curve or drawing is too complicated to cut.
And our mouth team built some braces for the jaw. Always want to make sure everything is in alignment!
We witnessed so much exciting tinkering and collaboration today! Can't wait to see what new foods and building challenges are on tomorrow's menu. Check out our Flickr page for more photos from the day and the rest of the week!
The pirate's life isn't easy, but it's always interesting, and today was a big, interesting day for us. We made progress on our tunnel system and treasure chest, we tested our canon, and our ship hull is almost complete! As a group we definitely tried harder than usual today.
This morning we took a little time to be well-informed pirate builders by experimenting with levers, pulleys and reinforcement techniques as well. This translated into an afternoon full of ideas and reinforcements. Tomorrow the lever concepts will be put to good use as we turn the giant ship over so we can install the upper deck!
Tomorrow is our last full day of building. It's often the hardest day, but also the most exciting as we see our vision coming together. To prepare, we spent a little time at the end of the day talking about how we could take care of ourselves, and take care of each other. Tomorrow will be full of hard work, hard problems to solve and compromise. Something every one of these pirates can handle!
Here's a link to more photos from the week on our Flickr Feed.
Tuesday is a big building day at Tinkering School. We have our idea, we're inspired to build and full of energy, so we build!
We took a little time to discuss tinkering. What is tinkering? Why do we tinker? The tinkerers responded with some beautifully thoughtful answers!
Throughout the day, there were plenty of examples of students helping each other, whether by holding a piece of wood, clamping something together, or doing a "partner push" (see yesterday's blog post). During closing circle, everyone had an opportunity to share a moment in which someone else helped them. Almost every hand went up to tell a story. Now that's teamwork!
The forecast for this week is storms of hamburgers, spaghetti downpours, strong winds blowing in doughnuts from the east, and more! Our passionate crew of tinkerers this week is taking on the challenge of FOOD WEATHER inspired from the classic children's book, "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs."
Before we began building though, we came up with some agreements about how we wanted to treat one another and stay safe in the workshop. Together we created a document outlining some important ideas and then signed our names committing to upholding our agreements.
Next up, it was time to learn how to use some tools! Drills, chopsaw, and clamps to be precise. These are the core group of tools that the kids will rely on most to build their elaborate creations.
After lunch we divided into three groups to design our epic tinkering projects. One group is working on a giant cloud that will release a deluge of food. Another group designed a giant catapult spoon to launch whatever delicious delicacies fall from the sky. And our third group designed a giant mouth and digestive tract that all manner of food can be launched into. It's going to be an exciting week!!
After all this hard work, our tinkerers still had time to get started cutting and measuring the first pieces of their projects. Our week of food weather tinkering is off to a yummy start!
To check out more photos from today be sure to visit our Flickr page!
We're imagining ourselves (or arrrselves) as pirates this week! We sailed into the day by sharing our goals for the week: collaborate and make friends, try harder than usual, build something bigger than ourselves, and make mistakes and learn from them. We also brainstormed a list of Group Agreements (you may have heard of the Golden Rule but were you also aware of the Platinum Rule? It says to "treat others the way they want to be treated.").
Then we got down to the business of learning to use tools properly during our Tool Training. Each student had an opportunity to practice using a chop saw, drill, and clamp. With these tools and our materials (primarily 2x3s and plywood but also hinges, pulleys, and wheels), I can't wait to see what we build by Friday!
It's great to see friendships already forming on the first day. Sometimes a "partner push" is needed to drive a screw; one person operates the drill while the other person helps to push down on the top of the drill. And one of our agreements is to ask "How can I help?" which immediately allows someone to tell us a specific action we can take such as "Could you hold this wood" or "Would you mind clamping these together?" We can build even bigger and grander when we work together.
A good part of this afternoon was spent designing the two builds for the week: a pirate ship and a pirate island hideaway. Students take the lead by sketching ideas, sharing their visions with the group, and then planning their "cut lists" for materials.
The moment we've been waiting for has arrived! It's Wacky Fairgrounds project reveal day! The students were excited to show off their hard work but before family members arrived, there was just enough time to put on the finishing touches: wheels on the go kart, feet on the AFFs (animals/furniture/food... we actually didn't end up making any food), and faces on the bowling pins. We were striving to express personality among the AFFs but it was a fun surprise to see the pins take on characteristics as well.
Both of the builds also needed to be tested before everyone took a ride. We started with a smaller kid on the go kart and progressed to larger kids and even adults. For the carousel, we spun it without riders, then added one student and then another and another until we were up to capacity at 8 student riders. Even with nine students, there was no creaking or cracking of wood and no sagging or unbalancing of the carefully-designed platform. Success!
Today's work embodied our goals for the week: collaborating and making friends, trying harder than usual, building something bigger than ourselves, and making mistakes and learning from them. At closing circle, our tinkerers shared ways that they had experienced these goals.
Today was the last day of our first week of Tinkering Day Camp SF! We had a great time kicking the summer off with Giant Games as our theme!
We also did our first test run of incorporating more learning about how things move, mechanisms, and simple machines into our tinkering weeks. We saw some wheels and axles included in projects this week and we will continue to iterate with this teaching, trying new ways to introduce the simple machines to tinkerers. Keep checking our blog this summer to learn how we experimented with this.
As always, in Tinkering School, we focus on the process rather than the product each week. With that in mind, we want to share photos that illustrate how our tinkerers met the four goals of Tinkering School this week. In our earlier blog post we shared examples of how tinkerers made mistakes and learned from them, which is one of our goals. Another goal is to build something bigger than yourself - both literally and metaphorically. Here are some photos of the tangible big things we made this week including the giant Connect 4 game, the Pinball Go Kart game, and the Crossy Road (the new Frogger) game:
(Click or swipe to scroll through photos in these slideshows...)
Another Tinkering School goal at Day Camp SF is to try harder than usual. Here are some photos of our tinkerers doing just that this week...
And the fourth goal we have at Tinkering School Day Camp is to collaborate and make friends. Many great collaborations happened this week and new friendships were created too! Here are some photos:
Be sure to watch our blog next week to learn more about our second week of Tinkering Camp this summer. Also don't forget to see our Day Camp Flickr Page for many more photos from this week of tinkering! Have a great weekend everyone!
Today before jumping into tinkering with our hands, we started with an exercise to define for ourselves "what is tinkering?" and "why do we tinker?" We have some deep thinkers as well as enthusiastic builders this week!
The pinball team made lots of progress both on the support frame and the game board.
Our tinkerers working on the pinball cart have taken on some exciting engineering challenges, figuring out how to create wheel wells, supports for the axle, and more.
The connect 4 team completed the front and back portions of the giant game grid and learned how to use new tools along the way.
There were also some fabulous mistakes made throughout the day! We discovered that when we don't use two hands on the drill its easy to bend the drill bit and it can break off in the wood.
And our crossy road team has been hard at work completing lots of different obstacles including a raised train bridge!
So many opportunities to practice our cutting and drilling skills.
Tomorrow is our final day of tinkering with this awesome crew. Be sure to check out our final blog post to see how the projects all turn out! To see all our photos from the week, don't forget to visit our Flickr photo page!
What is tinkering? Why do we tinker? We started the day with those questions, and we got some insightful answers: "To express creativity," "to discover new ways of thinking," "to make our ideas real."
Today was our last big day to build and the group came together, on their own, in an impressive way. Perseverance emerged as a theme as the sun got hot in the afternoon, and large unsolved problems loomed with only hours left to build. By the end of the day, we had a working carousel platform, a sturdy go-cart, and a ramp almost ready to be sheeted. Tomorrow will be hard, but not impossible as we prepare for unveil our creations!
Another great day of tinkering! Our three project teams made lots of progress on their giant games.
Our connect 4 team completed the front portion of the oversized grid that will hold the game pieces. Our pinball team settled on an exciting adaptation for their project as well. They will be creating a giant moving cart that will transport the pinball machine! Not only will the balls be bouncing around the pinball machine, the player will be rolling along all the while as well. Lastly our crossy road team made lots of progress creating a wooden river and train tracks for our game players to cross.
Throughout all the building we saw so many examples of great collaboration: kids holding pieces of wood for each other as the other drilled, listening to each others great ideas when coming up with exciting additions to the projects or figuring out solutions to tough challenges.
It's hard to believe were already half way through our week! We can't wait to see what this enthusiastic group of tinkerers puts together the next couple days!
Happy 4th of July! Today was a day of engineering workshops to get us thinking about building moving parts and leveraging our strength. Everyone learned about levers, pulleys, and how to reinforce wooden joints using triangles and gussets. Then, after lunch, we put our new knowledge into practice.
We wrestled with questions of how best to build a hot dog, one of several AFFs (Animal/Furniture/Food), to be installed on the carousel platform. Rectangular 2x3 wood doesn't lend itself to circular shapes but we discovered that an octagon is a close approximation.
The carousel platform folks have been trying harder than usual and discussing a complex design that rivals a tangram puzzle.
The bowl dozer / bowler coaster folks have been hard at work teaming up to build a ladder and a railing for the top of the launch platform.
Today was also a day of collaborating and making friends. At closing circle, several tinkerers shared how they had made a new friend today.
Click through the slideshow below for more photos.
Today at Day Camp SF our project building was well under way. Each of the three project groups moved swiftly from 2D designs to building with wood and screws. By afternoon we were discovering the first challenges and difficulties with our designs and needing to problem-solve and be even more creative.
Each project involves moving parts and this afternoon we had our first Day Camp tinkerer workshop about mechanisms and simple machines. Tinkerers did small group rotations learning about levers, pulleys, wheels and axles, and gussets for strengthening joints. We will see how this new knowledge gets incorporated in the projects this week as we experiment with teaching tinkerers to include more mechanisms in their creative designs!
Wow. what a day of building! Interesting groups of tinkerers are beginning to form around different components like the animals and benches for the carousel, or the platform for the Bowler Coaster. One small dedicated group is working on the geometry and building of the carousel platform-no small feat, since they are having to make cuts accurate to 1/16th of an inch!
In closing circle today many students shared their highlights and learning moments from the day. Several people said they'd created new friends. Tomorrow we continue the build!
A small group has been working with Charles to make the critical base of the carousel.