Tinkering School

come make amazing things with us

Mark Day / San Rafael

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

Mark Day / San Rafael, Mark Day Harry PotterTatian GreenleafComment

The last day of camp arrived with a flutter of nervous excitement. Would we be able to finish our builds by the afternoon? Would the train be able to pull the passenger car? Would the hidden door be reinforced to allow it to properly raise and lower?

The answers came in spurts: yes. yes. yes. Even though there is always more that can be imagined, more that can be designed, and more that can be built, we know we have a deadline and we work as a team to do as much as we can in the time we have.

The tinkerers met to plan how the train would arrive, how many people could ride it at one time, how best to allow visitors to travel under the hidden door, and where to position the sink and basilisk.

During our closing circle, just before family members arrived, we said more gratitudes to each other and shared ways we had met our goals for the week. There were new friendships growing and thanks said for help given.

At the end of the day, we all pitched in (thanks, family members!) to take apart our creations and return all of the materials to their original bins so they could be used again another time.

And so it is bittersweet that the final week of Tinkering School Summer Camp at Mark Day School comes to an end. We hope to see each of your children again next summer for another exciting program!

For many more photos from the week, visit our Flickr page.

Click through the slideshow below for many more photos from today.

Harry Potter - Day 4 - Week 5 - Mark Day School

Mark Day / San Rafael, Mark Day Harry PotterDavid St. MartinComment

Today felt a bit like running full speed toward platform nine and three-quarters, believing with all our heart that the platform would appear just in time! We had so much to do, so many projects yet to be completed, it seemed impossible, but with a lot of teamwork, a few moments of frustration, a break for popsicles and a few compromises, we made major progress. 

During a break, we reminded everyone that our goals for the week never included finishing. They were to Collaborate and make friends, try harder that usual, build something bigger than ourselves, and make mistakes we learn from. That's it. Completing projects  is just a bonus. 

We hope to see you at 2:15 tomorrow for the unveil! After that the tinkerers will get to demonstrate their skills with the drills as we take everything apart.  Adults are invited to help keep things safe, carry materials back to their places and generally admire the effort of your young maker. It has been an incredible week!

You can find many more pictures HERE

DSCF9347.JPG

Harry Potter - Day 1 - Week 5 - Mark Day School

Mark Day Harry Potter, Mark Day / San RafaelTatian GreenleafComment

Gryffindor. Hufflepuff. Ravenclaw. Slytherin. Magic has arrived at Tinkering School and the tinkerers are no longer muggles, having learned the art of tools.

We started the day discussing our goals for the week and then met to talk about group agreements in order to set a framework for ways that we interact with each other and with the tools (e.g. "treat others the way they want to be treated."). 

Every tinkerer went through tool training to learn about and practice using clamps, cordless drills, and a chop saw. 

In the afternoon, we split into our build groups to work on designing the two projects for the week: The Hogwarts Express train and the Chamber of Secrets. If you're wondering whether Moaning Myrtle will make an appearance, join us for the big reveal at the end of the week!

Check out more photos from today on our Flickr page.

goals.jpg
group agreements.jpg
 
chop saw.JPG
drill training.JPG
clamp training.JPG
train sketch 2.jpg
IMG_7144.JPG
train sketch.jpg
IMG_7143.JPG

Wild Animals - Day 5 - Week 4 - Mark Day School

Mark Day / San Rafael, Mark Day Wild AnimalsDavid St. MartinComment

When we started the week, a giant Belephant and Tigray were hard to imagine, but after a week of imagination, a lot of ingenuity, and a ton of hard work, we could proudly say we had built the biggest Belephant and Tigray the world has ever seen! 

So many more pictures from the week can be found here. 

This Belephant stands over 10' tall, rolls, flaps it's wings, and holds a whole herd of tinkerers

This Belephant stands over 10' tall, rolls, flaps it's wings, and holds a whole herd of tinkerers

The Tigray had a head large enough to sit in, and an articulated jaw designed by these two tinkerers. 

The Tigray had a head large enough to sit in, and an articulated jaw designed by these two tinkerers. 

Wild Animals - Day 2 - Week 4 - Mark Day School

Mark Day / San Rafael, Mark Day Wild AnimalsTatian GreenleafComment

We learned today that wild animals quickly grow in height. What started out as rectangles on the ground are now five and six feet tall. We found ourselves needing clamps, assembly squares, and friends to hold the wood as we drilled pilot holes and drove screws to connect various Tigray and Belephant body parts. 

After lunch, we each wrote and then shared answers to the questions "What is Tinkering?" and "Why do we Tinker?" Having fun was a common theme, as was exploring and experimenting with tools and materials.

Day two is typically a day that we start to find our rhythm, with small groups of students working together to build parts of a larger structure and new friendships developing.

Click to see more photos from today and the rest of the week on our Flickr page.

DSCF9108.JPG
The Belephant has a hexagon frame.

The Belephant has a hexagon frame.

The Tigray body with initial cross-bracing.

The Tigray body with initial cross-bracing.

One person holds the wood steady while the other drives the screw, then they switch.

One person holds the wood steady while the other drives the screw, then they switch.

Making sure the wood joints are held together tightly.

Making sure the wood joints are held together tightly.

Wild Animals - Day 1 - Week 4 - Mark Day School

Mark Day / San Rafael, Mark Day Wild AnimalsTatian GreenleafComment

What has four legs, two wings, stripes and a barbed tail? If you guessed a "Tigray" you were correct! This week, we're building Wild Animals and by wild we mean mashups. In addition to the Tigray (Tiger+Stingray), we're building an Elephant+Bee (still to be named). Imagine a trunk, six legs, large ears and a stinger. I can't wait to see how these creatures shape up!

Day one of Tinkering School is largely devoted to making group agreements related to camp safety and teamwork (e.g. always walk, treat others as they want to be treated) as well as going through tool training. Every tinkerer learns how to use our three main tools: a chop saw, cordless drills, and clamps.

We met in two groups to sketch ideas for our animals and to begin to write out a plan for building them bigger than ourselves. Our goals for the week include collaborating and making friends, trying harder than usualbuilding something bigger than ourselves, and making mistakes and learning from them.

To see more photos from today, check out our Flickr page.

We learned that drills are two-handed tools for putting holes in wood, driving screws, and removing screws.

We learned that drills are two-handed tools for putting holes in wood, driving screws, and removing screws.

The chop saw is a popular first day tool because of the many short and long pieces of 2x3 we need for our builds.

The chop saw is a popular first day tool because of the many short and long pieces of 2x3 we need for our builds.

 
Checking off one of our "cut list" pieces and moving on to the next task.

Checking off one of our "cut list" pieces and moving on to the next task.

Student-led design shows off creativity and gives an opportunity for taking pride in our work.

Student-led design shows off creativity and gives an opportunity for taking pride in our work.

Having never seen a Tigray in the wild, we had to figure out how tall it might be

Having never seen a Tigray in the wild, we had to figure out how tall it might be

During clamp training, students were challenged to build a bridge to span a distance. Teamwork was essential with one person holding the wood and one person operating the clamp.

During clamp training, students were challenged to build a bridge to span a distance. Teamwork was essential with one person holding the wood and one person operating the clamp.

We will come back to these throughout the week, telling stories of how we met them.

We will come back to these throughout the week, telling stories of how we met them.

Signed by all tinkerers and collaborators, this serves as the foundation for how we treat each other and work together.

Signed by all tinkerers and collaborators, this serves as the foundation for how we treat each other and work together.

 

Click through the slideshow below for a few more photos from today.

Wacky Fairgrounds - Day 3 - Week 2 - Mark Day School

Mark Day / San Rafael, Day Camp, Mark Day FairgroundTinkering School StaffComment

Happy 4th of July! Today was a day of engineering workshops to get us thinking about building moving parts and leveraging our strength. Everyone learned about levers, pulleys, and how to reinforce wooden joints using triangles and gussets. Then, after lunch, we put our new knowledge into practice.

 
Screen Shot 2018-07-04 at 3.59.27 PM.png
 
DSCF8630.JPG
DSCF8664.JPG
Beth explains how a cross-brace will create two triangles and strengthen an otherwise weak rectangle.

Beth explains how a cross-brace will create two triangles and strengthen an otherwise weak rectangle.

DSCF8638.JPG

We wrestled with questions of how best to build a hot dog, one of several AFFs (Animal/Furniture/Food), to be installed on the carousel platform. Rectangular 2x3 wood doesn't lend itself to circular shapes but we discovered that an octagon is a close approximation.

Hot dog in the making... we label our cut pieces with inch measurements.

Hot dog in the making... we label our cut pieces with inch measurements.

One of our AFFs, the wacky giraffe, is taking on even more of a personality now that it has a moveable head and pull strings.

One of our AFFs, the wacky giraffe, is taking on even more of a personality now that it has a moveable head and pull strings.

The carousel platform folks have been trying harder than usual and discussing a complex design that rivals a tangram puzzle. 

DSCF8735.JPG

The bowl dozer / bowler coaster folks have been hard at work teaming up to build a ladder and a railing for the top of the launch platform.

IMG_5217.JPG
IMG_5222.JPG
P7047269.JPG

Today was also a day of collaborating and making friends. At closing circle, several tinkerers shared how they had made a new friend today.

Click through the slideshow below for more photos.

Wacky Fairgrounds - Day 1 - Week 2 - Mark Day School

Mark Day Fairground, Mark Day / San RafaelDavid St. MartinComment

The first day of Tinkering School is always a special day. We get to know each other, come up with group agreements, learn how to use real tools and, finally, get to hear the theme for the week! We spend the last hours of the afternoon ideating and working out a design for our big build. Today all 22 tinkerers took to the tasks with gusto and we had a camp humming with productivity. 

After our morning developing group agreements we dove into safety in the spaces and tool training. Every tinkerer had a chance to practice on the chop saw, drill and clamps. With these three basic skills under our belt we'll be ready to tackle the project ahead! 

The project ahead is a big one too! Our theme is Wacky Fairgrounds, in celebration of the Marin County Fair. We're going to build two large-scale elements on that theme: a Carousel and one solely inspired by the prompt "Wild Ride." 

Both of these present some fairly big design and engineering challenges, but after spending the afternoon discussing design ideas and settling on some workable plans, I think we're ready to hit the ground running on Tuesday as we start making our ideas into physical objects we can touch and experience. Bring on tomorrow!

Check out all the photos from today on Flickr.

week 2 clamp training.JPG
week 2 saw scared.JPG
week 2 saw triumph.JPG
week 2 drill practice.JPG

Tinkering School is a trademark registered in the US Patent and Trademark Office.