Tinkering School

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Under the Sea at Mark Day -- A Silly and Complicated Tuesday

Mark Day Undersea (2017)Amanda SimonsComment

Today, I mostly hung out with the octopus team, and helped them be silly and tinkery as they made huge progress on their project! 

The day got started with a quite elaborate to-do list of parts -- including a bunch of 2x3s that needed to be specific lengths, and then cut with 45 degree angles. And let's be honest, with a list this long, I was assisting with chopsaw cuts for the entire morning. Measure. Mark. Cut. Repeat. It was an awesome lesson in process and practice. If we don't do all the steps right, we definitely have to recut things later -- which is fine, but sometimes frustrating!

It turns out that most of these cuts that team made today were for an elaborate plan to make octopus arms that move and articulate. Basically, a half inch hole is drilled through three 2x3s in and then a wooden rod is cut to length and pounded into the hole like a hinge. To keep the rod from escaping, small scraps of plywood act as endcaps to lock the structure in place. Above, Sam learned to use the jigsaw to cut down the plywood pieces.

This is an awesome design that we're all excited to test, and in the process of making the first prototype we realized many things -- the drill press table got tinted at a slight angle, causing the holes to misalign. Also, the dowels were just a little too long. Both of these tiny errors caused us to meet one of our Tinkering School Goals over and over today (Make Mistakes and Learn From Them!). 

Handsaw O'Clock, as we try to correct the too-long dowels. Sam tried trimming the pieces down while the unit as assembled, and later Jessica decided she wanted to learn the handsaw also. Rather than recutting all the too-long pieces, we set up a jig and she trimmed each piece (nearly all 16 of them!) by hand all afternoon. 

Meanwhile, Sam, Katherine, Kiera, and Penelope all worked as a team to create an octopus head. The structure above was assembled by this team all day with little to no adult help. They clearly communicated with one another in the assembly, and movement of this massive structure! It was amazing to look up and suddenly see this huge geometric shape come together! 

Okay, okay, okay! I promise there was also sweet progress made on the submarine team today as well! It went from parts to whoa all day long, and we'll transmit more updates tomorrow!

For now, I leave you with this super cute collage of tool illustrations from this morning:

All of the photos from yesterday and today are on Flickr! Also, we'll be uploading the rest of the week as well, so keep checking back!

Sleep well, deep sea divers! See you tomorrow!

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