Today was another day of build, build, build with a good dose of design, design, design thrown in. We’re still figuring out the best way to launch a golf ball onto the moon. Is a lever a useful mechanism? What about a rubber band slingshot? Or a pinball-style method? We learn through testing and we did quite a bit of that today. Can the lunar lander platform hold enough weight? Does it wobble? How can we strengthen the things we build?
How high should a moonscape mini golf hill be? Should we have a separate platform beside the hill so that players have varied experiences and can employ strategy?
Many of our connections for the lunar lander and the golf course consisted of angled parts. So the screws we put in were either added to slanted pieces of wood or needed to be pocket screws. One technique some of our tinkerers practiced today was drilling a starter hole perpendicular to the wood and then angling the drill and drilling a straight pilot hole using the starter hole as a guide:
In the morning during our opening circle, David taught a lesson on how to correctly measure wood. Being the creative teacher that he is, he made giant props for the demo — a tape measure and a speed square. And he used our blue benches to stand in as 2x3 wooden blocks. Then, he demonstrated with our actual tools and wood to connect those ideas tangibly.
After lunch, Jayson demonstrated good techniques for reinforcing structures. Particularly, he covered the difference between sheer strength (i.e. depending on screws to hold weight) — we tell kids that “screws are not magical” — and compression strength (i.e. depending on vertical pieces of wood to hold weight).
At closing circle, we asked for examples of how tinkerers had tried harder than usual today (one of our goals for the week). One way we’re doing so is to learn to use new tools.
The day isn’t complete without crossing off a few more items from our design and build checklists.
Click through the gallery below for more photos from our day. And visit our Flickr page for many more photos from throughout the week.