Tinkering School

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The Search for Sea Monsters - Day 1 - Week 4 (Mark Day School)

Mark Day/San Rafael, Mark Day Sea Monsters '19David St. MartinComment

The first day at Tinkering School is a whirlwind. A friendly, fun whirlwind, but a whirlwind nonetheless. First we introduce ourselves, then talk about the goals of the camp, then we spend a lot of time coming up with a set of group agreements that will help us all have a good time, stay safe and accomplish the goals of camp.

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By the time we’ve done all this, everyone is anxious to get their hands on some tools, so we go directly to tool training, where we practice on the drills, chop saw and clamps. By lunchtime we all feel accomplished, excited… and hungry!

We learned the difference between a drill with an adjustable “chuck” and one with a hexagonal “collet.”

We learned the difference between a drill with an adjustable “chuck” and one with a hexagonal “collet.”

A partner holds the wood steady.

A partner holds the wood steady.

Every chop saw cut starts with a “ready call” to make sure everyone in the workshop is attentive and wearing eye and ear protection.

Every chop saw cut starts with a “ready call” to make sure everyone in the workshop is attentive and wearing eye and ear protection.

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We refer to clamps as our "third hand" because when we use a drill, we need two hands to operate it. A clamp can hold wood together for us.

We refer to clamps as our "third hand" because when we use a drill, we need two hands to operate it. A clamp can hold wood together for us.

The project theme isn’t unveiled until after lunch. We do this on purpose because we need all of the things we do in the AM session to even be able to contemplate what we could do with the theme! This week, our theme is:

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We’re building two things based on our theme: a Sea Monster and some sort of submarine capable of searching for our monster. Tinkerers spent the afternoon ideating on the provocation. For example, if they chose to join the sea monster group, they sketched and described their ideas for sea monster design. What would it look like? How would it move? How big would it be? Tatian helped them look for similarities in their ideas and a plan slowly came together.

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Tinkerers often suggest using their height or wingspan as familiar measurements. This is great because it allows us to say both “one Nik wingspan” and “48 inches” and understand that they mean the same thing. So our sea monster is now a “Nik wingspan wide.”

Tinkerers often suggest using their height or wingspan as familiar measurements. This is great because it allows us to say both “one Nik wingspan” and “48 inches” and understand that they mean the same thing. So our sea monster is now a “Nik wingspan wide.”

Both the sea monster and the submarine groups have basic plans they all agree on, and ended the day hard at work cutting wood to fit the plan.

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Tomorrow is going to be a big day of building, solving inevitable design problems and pushing on our goals to collaborate and make friends, try harder than usual, build something bigger than ourselves, and make mistakes and learn from them.

Click through the gallery below for more photos from today. And visit our Flickr page for many more photos from throughout the week.

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