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The Dragon is Coming! - Day 5 - Week 1 - Mark Day School

Mark Day Dragon (2018)Tatian GreenleafComment

What an exciting day!!! Families came for the big reveal of the projects this afternoon and everyone had a chance to appreciate the big builds and the work that went into them. The dragon roared to life, the castle stood strong, and all of the students’ dedicated collaboration showed through in the well-built structures and creative elements.

At the beginning of the week, we told the students that our theme was "The Dragon is Coming!" and that they would be building a castle to protect themselves from the dragon. Somewhere along the way, the students working on the dragon decided it was a friendly dragon named “Uncle Jerry.” And so it was. Jerry took on rainbow scales and kind eyes. But don’t think for a second that our dragon wasn’t robust. From its articulating tail to expanding jaw to flapping wings, this creature full of mechanisms came alive and flew down the pathway to the fortified castle walls. And waited for the drawbridge to open and to be greeted by the citizens within.

Meanwhile, the castle folks were busy keeping a lookout in the tall tower, continuing new friendships on the sturdy L-shaped castle bench, and raising and lowering the drawbridge.  The students had wanted a tall castle and it was quite a challenge throughout the week to design and build walls that were much “bigger than ourselves.” I’m not sure when and where the pizza flag came from but it was a hit with each student gleefully climbing the ladder to the tower platform and waving the flag to everyone below.

We keep the project appreciation time -- about 15 minutes long after a week of building -- intentionally short as it serves as a reminder that it’s not the finished product but the collaborative process that matters. And then, with the help of family members, we deconstruct the entire project and recycle the materials for the next week of tinkering.  Even though it’s sad to see our castle and dragon disassembled, we have wonderful memories from the week!

Check out all the photos from today and the rest of the week on Flickr!

Our bench was so sturdy and comfortable that I wanted to take it home for my garden but our table was a bit too wobbly.  So a collaborator introduced the idea of “gussets,” triangular pieces of plywood that help reinforce two pieces of wood. The team got busy attaching gussets to the table legs and the problem was solved.

Our bench was so sturdy and comfortable that I wanted to take it home for my garden but our table was a bit too wobbly.  So a collaborator introduced the idea of “gussets,” triangular pieces of plywood that help reinforce two pieces of wood. The team got busy attaching gussets to the table legs and the problem was solved.

The corner bench and table inside the castle.

The corner bench and table inside the castle.

We weren’t draggin’ our feet at all today (sorry, had to get one bad pun in!).  Even though our goals for the week don’t include “finishing the project” -- we value process over product, we made a major push to check off as many things as we could from our student-generated To Do lists.

We weren’t draggin’ our feet at all today (sorry, had to get one bad pun in!).  Even though our goals for the week don’t include “finishing the project” -- we value process over product, we made a major push to check off as many things as we could from our student-generated To Do lists.

Each day is an opportunity to learn a new tool.  Today's included a rope cutter.

Each day is an opportunity to learn a new tool.  Today's included a rope cutter.

During circle time, the collaborators provided a few skits about how to work as a team in our space and how to best use tools and carry materials. Today, we had a request from Cyrus for a skit. But there wasn’t a skit planned by the collaborators so I asked Cyrus if he had a skit in mind.  He jumped at the chance and led an impromptu performance, asking two other tinkerers to join him.

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These are only a few of the MANY photos we took of tinkerers collaborating and making friendstrying harder than usual, making something bigger than ourselves, and making mistakes and learning from them throughout the week.  We will post more on our Flickr page so that families can enjoy them.

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