Tinkering School

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Harry Potter - Day 3 - Week 5 - Mark Day School

Mark Day Harry Potter, Mark Day/San RafaelTatian GreenleafComment

"A scarlet steam engine was waiting next to a platform packed with people. A sign overhead said Hogwarts Express, 11 o'clock. Harry looked behind him and saw a wrought-iron archway where the ticket box had been, with the words Platform Nine and Three-Quarters on it. He had done it."

-- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

"Of the many fearsome beasts and monsters that roam our land, there is none more curious... than the Basilisk, known also as the King of Serpents. This snake, which may reach gigantic size, and live many hundreds of years, is born from a chicken's egg, hatched beneath a toad."

-- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

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I read longer versions of these passages to our tinkerers during our after-lunch circle to further inspire them (and to take advantage of the air conditioning), although I don't think they need much more inspiration based on the creative sketches they've made on whiteboards and the mathematics- and physics-based contemplation happening in conversations.

This morning, students rotated through three mechanical engineering workshops to learn about pulleys, levers, and structural reinforcement (hint: ask them which shape is the strongest). We're continuing to think about which part of our builds might move and how we might accomplish that.

It was a full day of building and at the end of the day, though we were hot and somewhat tired, we shared stories of ways that other tinkerers had helped us (carrying wood, partner pushing on a drill, etc.).

Visit our Flickr page for even more photos from today and the rest of the week.

Feeling the difference between lifting 12 pounds using a single pulley, two pulleys, and four pulleys.

Feeling the difference between lifting 12 pounds using a single pulley, two pulleys, and four pulleys.

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Elevators, flag poles, window blinds, cranes, wells, and more...

Elevators, flag poles, window blinds, cranes, wells, and more...

Testing how being closer or further from the fulcrum affects lifting strength.

Testing how being closer or further from the fulcrum affects lifting strength.

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Avi brought his own copy!

Avi brought his own copy!

Learning to add a gusset to wobbly table legs in order to strengthen them.

Learning to add a gusset to wobbly table legs in order to strengthen them.

The engine cab is taking shape.

The engine cab is taking shape.

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Jig sawed circles of plywood and chop sawed 2x4s are connected to form the front of the engine. 

Jig sawed circles of plywood and chop sawed 2x4s are connected to form the front of the engine. 

As collaborators, one of our roles is to model behavior that includes the design process, building techniques, safe use of tools and materials, and communication based on our social and emotional learning curriculum. We are facilitators more than anything and we enjoy seeing students take the lead on projects and involve their peers in the process:

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Click through the slideshow below for more photos from today:

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