Tinkering School

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Moon Landing Mini Golf - Day 2 - Week 5 (Mark Day School)

Mark Day Moon Golf (2019), Mark Day/San RafaelDavid St. MartinComment

Tuesday arrived with a burst of tinkering energy as campers arrived rested and full of ideas and eager to get building! Taking some of that energy and converting it into reflective thought, we asked two questions we frequently ask tinkerers to think about: what is tinkering and why do we tinker? The answers ranged from “for fun” to “because it’s good for our brains.” We summarized them below on a chart that now hangs in the circle area. Taken as a whole they really show that our young tinkerers get why they’re here.

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Why do we tinker.jpg

After our morning reflection and a presentation on how to safely carry wood, we got into our build groups and got down to work. The Lunar Lander group had to finish up the octagonal floor, make legs and continue prototype work on the golf ball launcher.

The lunar lander was built upside-down to start with and then a team of tinkerers rotated it 180° and checked its stability. They decided it needed additional braces (triangles) and got to work cutting more.

The lunar lander was built upside-down to start with and then a team of tinkerers rotated it 180° and checked its stability. They decided it needed additional braces (triangles) and got to work cutting more.

It’s not easy to clamp a tube and drill a hole but this team was intent on making the golf ball launcher.

It’s not easy to clamp a tube and drill a hole but this team was intent on making the golf ball launcher.

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Assembling the top of the lunar lander section.

Assembling the top of the lunar lander section.

The Mini Golf course group was set on finishing up their first hole, complete with a ramp and obstacles. For now, those obstacles take the form of “moon bumps” but our design sketches from Monday hint at much more to come!

The ramp in the foreground and the start of a hill in the background.

The ramp in the foreground and the start of a hill in the background.

Moon bumps!

Moon bumps!

This was another big day for measuring and cutting wood. The chopsaw was busy for almost the entire time! Part of the reason it was busy was because measuring carefully, marking wood and cutting accurately are skills we’re still working on, so there were many instances of wood needing to be re-cut. At the end of the day several tinkerers shared how they learned to be more careful with their measurements after that experience. We love it when tinkerers share their mistakes and what they learned from them because it not only helps them cement their learning, but it helps others learn as well!

Tomorrow is another big day of building!

Communication is a big part of what we do at Tinkering School. Asking “How can I help?” or lending an idea to a project can improve our day.

Communication is a big part of what we do at Tinkering School. Asking “How can I help?” or lending an idea to a project can improve our day.

After we affixed the plywood golf platform to the frame, we realized that some of the screw heads stuck up too high and might block the ball. It was time for a lesson about (and then practice using) a countersink bit.

After we affixed the plywood golf platform to the frame, we realized that some of the screw heads stuck up too high and might block the ball. It was time for a lesson about (and then practice using) a countersink bit.

There’s so much happening in this photo but what it represents best is teamwork. Pairs of tinkerers are holding wood in place, offering screws or bits as needed to a partner, and taking turns using drills.

There’s so much happening in this photo but what it represents best is teamwork. Pairs of tinkerers are holding wood in place, offering screws or bits as needed to a partner, and taking turns using drills.

We encourage tinkerers to label their wood after they measure it. This wooden 2x3 has “20 1/2 inches” and “28°” written on it along with an angle cut indicator.

We encourage tinkerers to label their wood after they measure it. This wooden 2x3 has “20 1/2 inches” and “28°” written on it along with an angle cut indicator.

Click through the gallery below for more photos from today. And check out our Flickr page for hundreds more from throughout the week.

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