Tinkering School

come make amazing things with us

I Built a Table Today

Sean Murray


On Monday morning, Ada and the seven other campers in her band steppped into the power tool shop to be trained on the chop saw.

Ada watched a twelve-inch steel blade with eighty sharp, raked teeth, spun at 3800rpm by a very loud motor effortlessly slice through a two-by-four about twice as thick as her arm. She started crying. "I don't wanna do this!"

The best learning experiences are usually initiated by the learner. At camp, no camper "has to do" any specific project or building task. The hope is that immersion--an atmosphere where safe, constructive problem solving is ubiquitous--will create more deep, meaningful learning experiences than coersion.

So, when Ada expressed herself, she got a hug, a drink of water, and a sincere invitation to spend as much time as she needed on the (relatively un-threatening) cork floor.


By park time on Tuesday, Ada'd seen her peers use the tools to start building a giant rainbow slide, motorized spinning color discs and countless smaller explorations. She had decided, on her own time, that she was ready.

Three hours later Ada had completed her first table, built with drill, driver, clamp and, yes, chop saw.


Contributed by the Collaborator, Sean Murray

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