In two or twenty years time, it’s quite possible that one of us who was here today will turn to one of the friends we made at Tinkering School this week and say, “Hey, remember that time we got chewed by a gigantic wooden mouth, ran up the tongue climbing wall and ramp, through the throat tunnel, down the esophagous slide, into the balloon pit stomach, through the winding scillia-filled intestine, into the colon, and out of the end of the building-sized digestive system that we BUILT TOGETHER OUT OF WOOD???”
But that’s quite a mouthful (pun very much intended). More likely, we’ll say something like, “Hey friend, remember that time we got digested? That was the best.”
While this might sound like a line out of an episode of the Magic School Bus (it probably is), this was the glorious reality for us at Tinkering School today, where three projects came together to form one giant digestive system through which every tinkerer, and most of the collaborators, got to travel.
The strong and consistent communication between teams throughout the week was a huge part of what helped this project come together to succeed, and that commuication was initiated and maintained by the kids. As we slid our final pieces into place with barely seconds to spare and our adrenaline pumping, tinkerers could be heard continuing to encourage each other. They worked quickly and intensely, yet kind words emerged at every turn, as they used the rush of a last-minute push not as a stressor, but as a fire to become an even stronger and more enthusiastic team.
This is a phenomenon missing from many teams of adults in high-stress situations, and stands as a testament to Tinkerers' hard work this week. The digestive system we built was very cool, but the compliments uttered while standing under it determinedly keeping it from falling down while we drilled in the final screws five minutes before the finish line- those were even cooler.