Tinkering School

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San Francisco Day Camp

Hamster Maze - Day 5 - Week 6 - SF Summer Day Camp

Hamster Maze (2018), San Francisco Day CampBrendon BellComment

There's no way I could sum up this week any better than this heroic hamster...

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It's our final day of tinkering this week and it also marks the close of our epic summer day camp in San Francisco. What better way to celebrate than to build and test ride our hamster obstacle course!? The giant hamsters ended up not joining the party today, but that was fine as we wanted to test our prototypes first to make sure they were safe for our furry friends.

The hamster cart team made some final structural support additions and discovered just how bendy PVC pipe can be while making an awesome tunnel.

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After lunch it was finally time to test ride the cart! One of the privileges of being a collaborator is that we get to ride/test every potentially dangerous project first to ensure its safety. And this time, I was the lucky collaborator to get the job. The excitement in the room was palpable. Would the young tinkerers hard work hold up to the gravitational forces? Or would I go crashing like a tumbling hamster??? 

3...2...1!!!

WHOOOO!!!!!

WHOOOO!!!!!

I am happy to report that I am still here report to you all (with all body parts intact) that it was a GIANT success! The kids jumped and yelled and cheered as I flew down the track ramp, across the room and smashed into our stopping barrier (metal chairs – for added drama). Everyone couldn't wait to try it themselves and show their parents. Check out the video at the end to see the fun!

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Meanwhile, the hamster wheel team worked hard to complete their stand, install the wheel, and test out their impressive feat of engineering!

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The team did an amazing job reducing friction on the axle. It actually consisted of a metal threaded rod inside a piece of metal conduit pipe. This allowed the two metal pieces to slide against each other rather than metal on wood which can cause a lot of drag. As a result, they discovered that absence of friction can also be important to account for...the wheel could spin super fast if folks weren't careful to slow it down!

Check out the fun! The kids all got to ride in it – helmet required of course.

The obstacle cubes were also fully covered and connected by a spooky dark tunnel.  

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The kids made sure to add lots of trip wires, dangling obstacles to duck under, a swing, ground barriers to walk over with stilts and more! They had a blast testing out their agility maze. I hope the hamsters are prepared.

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The climbing team completed and attached ladders to their tower for yet another way to test the hamsters' and their own scrambling skills. They also had time to make some directional signs – one way only! Have you ever seen or been stuck in a hamster traffic jam? No? Be thankful you haven't if you haven't... they're worse than downtown San Francisco at rush hour...

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One of the joys of Tinkering School is having the chance to build things bigger than ourselves – especially things that we can use and interact with. Whether its a mountain to climb over, a wheel to roll inside, a cart to ride in, or an obstacle course to traverse, there's nothing quite like getting to play with a huge creation that you also dreamed up and built with your own hands as part of a team.

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A big thank you (and squeak) to all our hamster tinkerers this week for bringing your imaginations, and enthusiasm, and teamwork. All of our Tinkering staff look forward to hopefully seeing many of you next summer and in lots of our other camps. Till then, happy tinkering and hamsterbunga! 

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To see more photos from our hamster maze week, please visit our Flickr page!

Hamster Maze - Day 4 - Week 6 - SF Summer Day Camp

Hamster Maze (2018), San Francisco Day CampBrendon BellComment

Our team this morning was so excited to begin tinkering that they could hardly contain themselves! The high levels of enthusiasm made it more challenging though to remember our group agreement to "always walk" in the woodshop...

Luckily, we were able to spend a little more time in our morning project meetings to allow our energy levels to return again to "safe" tinkering levels, and then finally it was time to build!

The cube team continued to build their walls, fine tune their swing, build a roof, and install the first obstacles. So much activity!

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The climbing challenge team installed the rock climbing wall as well as the rope pull wall. After a successful test from our staff collaborators, the tinkerers had their chance to climb up and over. Some of the youngsters were scared of the height at first, but after taking their time to slowly navigate the obstacle, their faces lit up with excitement "we did it!."

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A ladder? A bridge? A collaborator catcher? When tinkering, a few sticks of wood can become anything!

A ladder? A bridge? A collaborator catcher? When tinkering, a few sticks of wood can become anything!

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The crew also took advantage of the final painting day – we had to make sure everything dries before Friday when the parents arrive!

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The stilts team made some nice modifications too, adding some metal handles.

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They learned how to use the drill press to bore large holes for the hardware to fit into. 

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The hamster cart team tested out their platform, ramp, and cart. While I walked around on the platform and ramp, the kids all watched and listened for signs of cracking, creaking, breaks, bends or any other troubling sings of structural weakness. We discovered a few spots that could use more supports. Good thing we checked!

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We also tried out the cart to see how it rolled. It picked up some speed! It will be an exciting ride when its all ready to go.

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The hamster wheel team is also nearly done with the wheel portion!

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The floor boards are being installed and now its time to work on the support stand. Can't wait to see it rolling along!

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You definitely won't want to miss tomorrow's post! We're going to have an epic maze that any hamster would love to climb through! To see more photos from the day, please be sure to visit our Flickr page :)

Hamster Maze - Day 3 - Week 6 - SF Summer Day Camp

Hamster Maze (2018), San Francisco Day CampBrendon BellComment

It's hamster time!! 

At least it is was here today at our San Francisco day camp! We had lots of fun busily tinkering and building our epic mazes and obstacle courses. 

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We have a new hamster friend who just joined the team! We are not yet decided on what their name is yet... we'll keep you posted.

The huge rope climbing wall was ready to be raised. Hopefully the hamsters will be ready – this is looking like it will be a super challenging maze / obstacle course!

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The rock hand holds for the climbing wall were carefully placed and bolted on to a piece of plywood. 

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What will these climbing walls be attached to you might be wondering? Another group completed an impressive 7 foot tall tower, utilizing many triangle supports to make sure it was super strong. It will securely anchor both climbing walls and serve as an excellent hamster lookout post.

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Our collaborators always test the structural integrity of pieces that will be holding weight. Two thumbs up - the platform was really sturdy!

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I think our tinkerers are beginning to exhibit hamster like behaviors...mischievous hoarding of wood sticks...talking in squeaks and chirps...curious...

The large hamster cart received some much needed safety upgrades. Walls and bumpers!

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Meanwhile, the track team worked super hard to build a launch platform and ramp.

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This team demonstrated some impressive collaboration, all deciding together how to share drilling, screwing, and holding duties. There's so much we can accomplish when we work together!

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One cart and track was definitely not enough. Our hamsters enjoy riding in style, so this team prototyped and built another really cool train system.

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Yet another hardworking group of tinkerers made huge progress on their hamster wheel.

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Cutting the axle with a hacksaw.

Cutting the axle with a hacksaw.

They learned how to use the drill press to cut out holes in the cross supports that will hold the axle.

They learned how to use the drill press to cut out holes in the cross supports that will hold the axle.

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One of the obstacle cube teams made tons of progress sheathing the sides with thin plywood.

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The bandsaw was another tool they learned how to use. It's great for cutting plywood. Similar to the chop saw, it also has a "blood bubble" that we keep all our fingers and out hands out of. 

Jack tested out his stilts too and they worked like a charm! Super stable and easy to control. 

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We have an incredibly enthusiastic and hard working group this week. The obstacles are taking shape, the projects are growing exponentially, and the hamsters hopefully are busy prepping, because they are going to get a workout navigating this maze!

Check back soon to follow this crews progress and to see more photos from the week, please do visit our Flickr page!

Hamster Maze - Day 2 - Week 6 - SF Summer Day Camp

Hamster Maze (2018), San Francisco Day CampBrendon BellComment

The hamsters are going to be veeerry happy!

We had a full day of tinkering and building today and we saw lots of collaboration and hard work and these projects are already growing to be bigger than ourselves.

One team focused on making two giant boxes that will be connected by a rope swing and filled with obstacles. Hopefully the hamsters are super agile!

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Sometimes hand tools are the right fit for the job! The kids love hand saws almost as much as they love using the chop saw. There is something so satisfying about using just your strength and a piece of metal to mold the world around you.

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So many opportunities for teamwork! 

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Another team worked hard on building a cart and track for our lucky hamsters.

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Safety first! It was decided by the group that adding a bumper to the hamster cart would be a good idea. Xenia happily took on the task of adapting an old tire for the purpose.

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What would a giant hamster week be without hamsters! Another team gleefully began work on creating some cute, huge hamsters. There were some tricky angles angle pieces to cut and attach that definitely gave these young tinkerers a chance to try harder than usual.

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What would a hamster maze be without a climbing wall! This team is really excited to construct a 5 foot tall climbing wall that will lead to a platform and ramp. The hamsters are going to get some serious excercise navigating this maze!

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There's even going to be a section of the obstacle course that requires stilts! We discovered the usefulness of triangles (gussets) to make really strong connections between two pieces of wood.

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I never thought hamster envy could be a thing, but after seeing the creative projects this hard working group is putting together, I'm starting to think more and more how fun it would be to traverse this epic obstacle course!

Stay tuned for more tinkering and check out all the fun from the week on our Flickr page!

Hamster Maze - Day 1 - Week 6 - SF Summer Day Camp

Hamster Maze (2018), San Francisco Day CampBrendon BellComment

Have you heard the news!? Hamster pet food across the country has been found to have traces of super ginormous growth hormone accidentally added to it...and the result...???

GIANT HAMSTERS! they're still cuddly and cute, but now they're giant - roughly small human sized. Luckily our newest group of tinkerers joined us this week and we're on a mission to build some new and enlarged hamster mazes for them so they can feel at home again soon.

Before we could get started building though, we needed to create some group agreements: How do we want to treat each other? How do we plan to stay safe while we build? We came up with a great list that we all felt good about and then it was on to tool training!

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Our young tinkerers learned how to efficiently clamp multiple pieces of wood together. Many multiples! They built some impressive clamp bridges with their new skills and then learned how to carefully take them all apart in reverse order.

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Knowing how to use a drill is an essential skill for a tinkerer to have in their toolbelt, so we made sure that everyone had an opportunity to practice their drilling technique. 

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Perfect two handed form! Placing one hand on the back of the drill isn't just a good way to provide more power, it helps direct the force down in a straight line which can prevent stripping the screws or breaking drill bits

Always a favorite, the kids learned to use the CHOP SAW!!! Its the most exciting and potentially dangerous tool we frequently use in the shop, so we have developed very specific safety protocols that each kid learns and every cut that is made through the week is supervised by one of our staff collaborators.

Manny (E-man) explaining the "thumbs up" check that the chop saw operator needs to get from everyone nearby before making a cut.

Manny (E-man) explaining the "thumbs up" check that the chop saw operator needs to get from everyone nearby before making a cut.

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After our lunch break the kids discovered what the weeks' tinkering theme would be and then dove into brainstorming and designing their projects. There's some super fun ideas being developed and I have no doubt the hamsters will be deeply appreciative of their efforts!

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There was even still time at the end of the day to begin building! – lots of measuring, cutting, and material gathering. It's going to be a very productive week I have a feeling.

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We ended the day with a closing circle where we listened to each other describe how we tried harder than usual, collaborated with friends, and made some great mistakes that we learned from. Looking around at the projects, it was also clear that we are already well on the way to building projects bigger than ourselves.

The kids are eagerly on board with our four tinkering school goals, and it will be exciting to watch them tinker this week. Who knows what amazing creations will come from their collaborations. The hamsters can hardly wait!

To see more of the tinkering fun today, be sure to visit our Flickr page!

Moving Animals - Day 5 - Week 5 - SF Summer Day Camp

Moving Animals (2018), San Francisco Day CampBrendon BellComment

STAMPEDE! 

The animals have come to life and are flying, wheeling, walking, and bobbing around! The teams had time to put some final touches on their projects before parents arrived to witness all their amazing work.  

The giant baby unicorn took its first rolling steps and is growing up fast!

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It took a team of collaborators to raise this giant unicorn.

It took a team of collaborators to raise this giant unicorn.

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Hard at work drilling holes for an axle that supported the wheels and powered the moving legs.

Hard at work drilling holes for an axle that supported the wheels and powered the moving legs.

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You wouldn't be the first to wonder if this giant baby unicorn was actually a Trojan horse in training. It can hold up to three young tinkerers in its belly! 

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The jelly fish was also seen bobbing around in all its twinkly glory!

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The team added a couple layers of translucent plastic and fabric to make it appear just like a living, natural jelly fish. And lots of lights - it's an electric jelly after all! 

A great shot showing the complexity of this team's design. There were so many angled cuts to figure out!

A great shot showing the complexity of this team's design. There were so many angled cuts to figure out!

How cool would it be to swim through a group of giant jelly fish!? With a very thick wetsuit of course...

How cool would it be to swim through a group of giant jelly fish!? With a very thick wetsuit of course...

The bird car team celebrated a major success as well in completing a functional pedal system. It really worked! They were able to power their car with their feet, moving it back and forth about 10 feet. With a little more time there's no doubt they could have perfected their design and been speeding along over great distances.

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All the hard work to bend metal pipes paid off, and the plastic foot pedals rolled perfectly underfoot.

All the hard work to bend metal pipes paid off, and the plastic foot pedals rolled perfectly underfoot.

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Gotta get creative to finding the best working position!

Gotta get creative to finding the best working position!

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The angry bird catapult and slingshot team were super excited to finally test out their designs.

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The birds expressed varying degrees of anger upon being launched into the air. Some nose-dived and crashed, others were happy to fly for a little while before also coming to a rough landing. 

The team was thrilled with the outcome and were already coming up with more ideas to perfect their designs. If only more tinkering time! We hope all our young tinkerers take their new skills and confidence out into the real world to continue designing, creating, and building. 

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Our bird launch team also completed their epic ramp as well, connecting it to a 10 foot tall wall! It was a great example of meeting our tinkering goal of collaborating with each other. There's no way we could have hoisted it up without everyone's help.

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The most important connection point on the ramp were the bolts connecting it to the launch platform. The team made sure to lock them down tight!

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Then it was time to carry the giant bird through the building, up some stairs, through the library, to its perch on the launch pad...

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Will if fly!!??

It's been a blast tinkering with these groups this week as they worked hard to develop their imaginative ideas and bring them to life. They tried harder than usual, stretching to overcome some difficult engineering challenges. They built some huge structures that were definitely bigger than themselves. They made lots of wonderful "mistakes" that they learned from. They also took to heart one of our most important tinkering goals: to collaborate and make friends. Its amazing what kinds of things can be accomplished when we work together and this group showed us several impressive examples. Who knows what they might create next!

To see all the tinkering fun from the entire week, be sure to visit our Flickr page!

Moving Animals - Day 4 - Week 5 - SF Summer Day Camp

Moving Animals (2018), San Francisco Day CampBrendon BellComment

The animals are coming to life and it's beginning to look like a zoo here at our San Francisco day camp! With the end of the week fast approaching, the project teams enthusiastically dove back into their work.

Our giant unicorn was given a face and a fur coat today! For fans of "How to Train Your Dragon," is it just me or could our unicorn be a cousin of Toothless the dragon? 

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The team working on the unicorns legs made large strides as well in designing and building our unicorns forward movement mechanism. It will involve six legs, four with wheels and two that provide the forward propulsion. Can't wait to see how it all works! 

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The jelly fish team meanwhile worked hard on assembling the jelly's tentacles. They will all be able to move up and down and wiggle with the help of some pulleys and rope.

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The team was even able to finish the frame for the jelly's head and raise it in the air! Soon it will appear to be floating and bobbing through the air as if its in water. Our tinkerers had a chance to learn about pulleys and how adding additional pulleys to create a block and tackle system allows us to lift heavy objects with ease.

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Our angry birds team tested several different variations of their bird launcher. 

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With a rope and pulley, tension is built up and then a pin holding down the basket is pulled to release the catapult arm and send our birdies flying through the air. 

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Another bird team worked hard on constructing some wheels and a pedal system similar to a paddle boat. 

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To flatten parts of a metal pipe, they used a giant vice. Only thing is they didn't have enough leverage at first...what to do? Make a longer lever! They figured out that using a pipe to extend that vice handle worked like a charm.

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Our ramp bird launch team made huge progress both on assembling and covering their bird as well as building a 20 foot launch ramp! Will it fly??? We'll soon find out!

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Stay tuned to see these awesome animals' first steps, wiggles, and attempts at flight! And to see more from our productive day, don't forget to visit our Flickr page!

Moving Animals - Days 1-3 - Week 5 - SF Day Camp

Moving Animals (2018), San Francisco Day CampBrendon BellComment

Another week of Tinkering excitement! We have a new crew full of fresh ideas and a desire to build, build, build! As we learned on the first day, our design theme and challenge this week is to build MOVING ANIMALS!

This also happens to be our summer day camp's "Seniors Week" so we are excited to have several more teens or near teens on our team. We hope their additional years of experience will help us all as as we figure out how to create some tricky mechanisms that will allow our animals to come to life.

As with every Tinkering camp, we started off the first day creating some group safety agreements to decide how we want to use the tools and collaborate and treat each other respectfully. We then jumped straight into tool training!

THE CHOP SAW! A fan favorite for sure. One of our most used tools in the shop, the kids learn how to operate it safely and keep all appendages out of the "blood bubble" (an area roughly a foot away from either side of the blade). 

THE CHOP SAW! A fan favorite for sure. One of our most used tools in the shop, the kids learn how to operate it safely and keep all appendages out of the "blood bubble" (an area roughly a foot away from either side of the blade). 

Clamps are a tinkerers best friend - especially if a real life friend isn't available to hold a piece of wood down for them.

Clamps are a tinkerers best friend - especially if a real life friend isn't available to hold a piece of wood down for them.

Drills! By the end of the week, our young builders will be wielding their drills like pros.

Drills! By the end of the week, our young builders will be wielding their drills like pros.

After a lunch break, it was time to go to the drawing board. We broke up into three groups each with a specific mechanical challenge: design and build a moving animal that wiggles, flies, or walks. 

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Every tinkerer had a chance to draw and share their ideas and then as a group everyone decided how to bring them all together into a design plan with general dimensions. 

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The kids discovered chairs and props are a great way to figure out the most ergonomical dimensions for a project!

The kids discovered chairs and props are a great way to figure out the most ergonomical dimensions for a project!

With a rough blueprint in hand for each animal design, there was even still time during the first day to start building. Tinker on!

Day 2 was a tinker fest!

With tool training under our belts, we had all day to build, and our young crew made the most of their time. 

The flying animals team decided to split into a few different sub-groups. To add to the zoo, we'll have a large rolling bird with automated flapping wings, a bird that accelerates and flies off a ramp, and an angry birds launcher that attempts to rescue their pig friends trapped on towers. 

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Meanwhile the walking team was busy constructing an epic unicorn! Or a trotting unicorn? A galloping unicorn? Perhaps the unicorn could be in the flying group as well??? 

Assembling a frame for the large body.

Assembling a frame for the large body.

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Excellent two handed drilling form. Bravo!

Excellent two handed drilling form. Bravo!

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The unicorn will have a hatch door hatch for passengers to enter. Luckily we have hinges and hardware available to use in addition to lots of lumber.

Not to be outdone, the wiggle team decided to build a giant, wiggly, undulating jelly fish! Rumor is that it will be suspended in the air and the tentacles will bob up and down as if its moving through water.

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To create the domed top of the jelly fish, this crew had to figure out some complex geometry so that they could cut pieces for three hexagons. Can't wait to see how it turns out!

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Day 3 was super productive!

This crew tinkers hard! We saw some impressive new developments with each of the three projects.

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The jelly fish is looking more and more jellyish. The team added supports between each of the three hexagons to make a very sturdy dome structure. To reinforce the joints, (most of which were made with angle cuts), they also attached gussets (plywood triangles).

The walking unicorn team likewise added many aesthetic touches to the body, neck, and head. 

Can you spot the unicorn horn? I for sure wouldn't want to upset this magically majestic animal!

Can you spot the unicorn horn? I for sure wouldn't want to upset this magically majestic animal!

Attaching the unicorn's fur coat.

Attaching the unicorn's fur coat.

Prototyping the unicorns moving legs.

Prototyping the unicorns moving legs.

And the flying teams soared through their self-made task lists! (My apologies to the non-punners out there) ;-P

Catapults, framed bird bodies, take off ramps and more!

Catapults, framed bird bodies, take off ramps and more!

Why saw just by yourself when you have a friend to push back from the other side!

Why saw just by yourself when you have a friend to push back from the other side!

Measuring distances between foot pedals for the rolling bird car that will simultaneously flap some large wings.

Measuring distances between foot pedals for the rolling bird car that will simultaneously flap some large wings.

It's been a wild few days of tinkering, full of movement in the pursuit of creating yet more movement. What if these moving animals could build other moving animals...! Who knows, with this enthusiastic, group I wouldn't bet against the possibility, or anything else that they set their minds to for that matter. Tinkering sets the imagination free and it will be super exciting to see what these young tinkerers come up with next!

To check out more of the action from this week, be sure to visit our Flickr page! 

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs - Final Day - SF Day Camp

Meatballs (2018), San Francisco Day CampBrendon BellComment

The storm we've all been waiting for has finally arrived! Soon everyone's hunger will be satiated as watermelons, doughnuts and pizza rain down on our workshop. With no time to lose, our crews jumped into putting the final touches on their projects.

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Our catapult team experienced an exciting structural failure when trying to move the catapult into the adjacent room. With the weight of the catapult and several builders on the moving platform, the side rail was no match for the force on the wheel's axle. Our tinkerers proudly met the Tinkering School goal of "making mistakes and learning from them" :)

The catapult required so much force to pull the lever that a pad was needed for the puller to fall back on. 

The catapult required so much force to pull the lever that a pad was needed for the puller to fall back on. 

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Meanwhile our mouth team worked hard on the track of the digestive tract tunnel. 

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After giving the giant mouth giant teeth, all that was needed were giant lips! This group easily met the Tinkering School goal of "build something bigger than ourselves." 

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And it was finally time to decorate our huge food cloud. It was a full team effort to dress it up in white cloth. There was also enough time to also complete the trap door mechanism. 

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And then...dun dun dun...!!!!! 

Parents and grandparents arrived to witness an epic food storm. After a brief safety discussion, it was time to see the giant cloud full of food raise off the floor and into the sky. The humidity levels went up (mostly due to Tinkering staff hoisting the heavy cloud on pulleys) and up went our giant cloud amidst lots of cheering! 

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As we soon discovered, the volume of food was so great that as soon as the cloud raised off the ground, the trap door gave way and spilled the food onto the ground. Our cloud appeared to want to be more of a cornucopia than a cumulonimbus. 

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After emptying itself, our cloud hung around for a bit. At over 8ft tall and 8ft wide, it was an impressive sight to behold.

After emptying itself, our cloud hung around for a bit. At over 8ft tall and 8ft wide, it was an impressive sight to behold.

Next up, it was time to feed our giant mouth by launching our recently harvested food via catapult!

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5...4...3... Everyone yelled the countdown!

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The giant mouth open and closed in anticipation of a delicious meal!

...2...1... GO! 

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Aiden pulled hard on the cord, then he pulled harder, and then he pulled as hard as could and still the catapult lever didn't budge... Then we had one of our oldest tinkerers pull the cord and still no luck! We discovered though that with a little nudge of the lever while someone else pulled the the cord, the catapult would let loose and do its job. FOOD AWAY! 

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Our first watermelon didn't quite make it into the mouth, but after moving the catapult closer, the giant mouth was finally satisfied - along with our dedicated and excited group of tinkerers! 

What a week! And it was all made possible by all of our tinkerers collaborating and working together, and trying harder than usual. These are two more of our Tinkering School goals and it was a pleasure to watch this crew take them on whole heartedly. I have no doubt these kids will be creating and building many more awesome and imaginative creations in the near future. Happy munching!

To check out all the action from the week, be sure to visit our Flickr page!

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs - Day 4 - SF Day Camp

Meatballs (2018), San Francisco Day CampBrendon BellComment

So much delicious learning and progress was cooked up today by our tinkering crew!

Our digestive tunnel team learned how to drill large holes and screw in eye bolts as part of a system to move food along the digestive tract. Keep on moving, keep on moving. More food! Yum!

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The mouth was given a tongue ramp that the food will slide down into the digestive tunnel.

The mouth was given a tongue ramp that the food will slide down into the digestive tunnel.

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Hard at work making a complicated mechanism that moves the jaws of the mouth simultaneously!

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Raawwrr! FOOOD!! Nom nom nom...

Raawwrr! FOOOD!! Nom nom nom...

To collect extra food scraps that miss the mouth, it was decided a portable giant plate and utensils would be necessary.

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Never enough food!!!! This has been the most hunger inducing tinkering week in memory.

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The catapult team also made lots of progress on their jumbo sized food launching machine. Lots of collaboration makes building more fun and productive!

The bandsaw has been used frequently this week - lots of side panels and floors to cut.

The bandsaw has been used frequently this week - lots of side panels and floors to cut.

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There was even time to make a crane that will pick up and transport food to the catapult that has fallen from the cloud.

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And the cloud team is about to attach the trap doors that will release a deluge of delicious delicacies!

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Introducing the "ear muff man!" Tinkering is clearly all business and no play ;-)

Introducing the "ear muff man!" Tinkering is clearly all business and no play ;-)

Make sure to check back and see this hard working crew's creations come to life! A storm of food is fast approaching. And don't forget, theres even more photos on our Flickr account from the day and rest of the week. We're looking forward to a giant feast tomorrow!

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs - Day 3 - SF Day Camp

Meatballs (2018), San Francisco Day CampBrendon BellComment

Wow! Our young foodies made huge progress today on their projects and most importantly had a blast along the way. 

The catapult team successfully tested their food launching prototypes...

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Very official flags marking the exact launch distances.

Very official flags marking the exact launch distances.

Pears and waffles away! 

Pears and waffles away! 

Ready...aim..let the mini glazed doughnut fly!

Ready...aim..let the mini glazed doughnut fly!

The cloud team finished the second face of the giant cloud that will soon be suspended in the air. Just needs a little more evaporation...

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Hard at work cutting the cloud's curves with the jig saw.

Hard at work cutting the cloud's curves with the jig saw.

And food! Lots of food...yum!

An egg? Nope! Hope you like sliced watermelon :-P

An egg? Nope! Hope you like sliced watermelon :-P

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Originally a licorice stick, this tasty treat morphed into the doughnut on the right.

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Our mouth and digestive team discovered that with just two pulleys and two operators the jaw was difficult to maneuver in a coordinated manner.

They tinkered and tinkered and experimented and eventually came up with an awesome design to make the jaws of our huge mouth move simultaneously!

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Everyone could hear the gleeful shouts of "IT WORKS!" It's one of our favorite tinkering phrases along with "What if...!?"

A giant mouth has to have giant teeth of course.

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The digestion tunnel is winding along nicely.

The digestion tunnel is winding along nicely.

With only two more days of building left, the anticipation is building for an exciting feast of flying food! Stay tuned and check out our Flickr page for more photos of the excitement from today and the rest of the week!

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs - Day 2 - SF Day Camp

Meatballs (2018), San Francisco Day CampBrendon BellComment

The winds of yum are picking up! Flying food is on the horizon! How many super cheesy puns can I try to come up with... yes that was also pun intended :-P

Our food minded tinkerers made tons of progress today on their projects. With tool training behind us, they had the whole day to build and they made the most of it!

Our catapult team completed several mini prototypes to discover what the most effective food launching system might look like.  

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In the next days build sessions, the catapult team will settle on one or two designs and then jumbo size them to be able to launch our huge food great distances.

We have some hungry and world cup inspired soccer fans in this crew! Or should I say football?

We have some hungry and world cup inspired soccer fans in this crew! Or should I say football?

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Our food team? Well they got started baking right away. I'm not kidding when I say that their food creations were making me hungry...

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Such a clever way to string up a cluster of grapes!

Such a clever way to string up a cluster of grapes!

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The cloud crew got to check off several tasks as they finished the first side of their giant cloud.

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To cut out the cloud shapes, we learned how to use a new tool, the jig saw! With its small blade, no curve or drawing is too complicated to cut.

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And our mouth team built some braces for the jaw. Always want to make sure everything is in alignment!

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Hard at work on the throat/intestines tunnel that will be connected to the mouth.

Hard at work on the throat/intestines tunnel that will be connected to the mouth.

Realigning the jaw pieces. This mouth is going to have a giant set of teeth!

Realigning the jaw pieces. This mouth is going to have a giant set of teeth!

We witnessed so much exciting tinkering and collaboration today! Can't wait to see what new foods and building challenges are on tomorrow's menu. Check out our Flickr page for more photos from the day and the rest of the week!

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs - Day 1 - SF Day Camp

Meatballs (2018), San Francisco Day CampBrendon BellComment

The forecast for this week is storms of hamburgers, spaghetti downpours, strong winds blowing in doughnuts from the east, and more! Our passionate crew of tinkerers this week is taking on the challenge of FOOD WEATHER inspired from the classic children's book, "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs." 

Before we began building though, we came up with some agreements about how we wanted to treat one another and stay safe in the workshop. Together we created a document outlining some important ideas and then signed our names committing to upholding our agreements.

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Next up, it was time to learn how to use some tools! Drills, chopsaw, and clamps to be precise. These are the core group of tools that the kids will rely on most to build their elaborate creations.   

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Drilling provides so many great opportunities for collaboration. Another hand is always helpful to hold down a piece of wood while a friend is drilling.

Drilling provides so many great opportunities for collaboration. Another hand is always helpful to hold down a piece of wood while a friend is drilling.

Awesome two-handed drilling form!

Awesome two-handed drilling form!

After lunch we divided into three groups to design our epic tinkering projects. One group is working on a giant cloud that will release a deluge of food. Another group designed a giant catapult spoon to launch whatever delicious delicacies fall from the sky. And our third group designed a giant mouth and digestive tract that all manner of food can be launched into. It's going to be an exciting week!!

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After all this hard work, our tinkerers still had time to get started cutting and measuring the first pieces of their projects. Our week of food weather tinkering is off to a yummy start!

To check out more photos from today be sure to visit our Flickr page!

Giant Games - Day 4 - SF Day Camp

Giant Games (2018), San Francisco Day Camp, Day CampBrendon BellComment

Today before jumping into tinkering with our hands, we started with an exercise to define for ourselves "what is tinkering?" and "why do we tinker?" We have some deep thinkers as well as enthusiastic builders this week!

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The pinball team made lots of progress both on the support frame and the game board. 

Concentratin and collaboration - they go so well together!

Concentratin and collaboration - they go so well together!

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Our tinkerers working on the pinball cart have taken on some exciting engineering challenges, figuring out how to create wheel wells, supports for the axle, and more.

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The connect 4 team completed the front and back portions of the giant game grid and learned how to use new tools along the way. 

Sometimes hand tools do the trick! Ava shows off her work using a hacksaw :)

Sometimes hand tools do the trick! Ava shows off her work using a hacksaw :)

There were also some fabulous mistakes made throughout the day! We discovered that when we don't use two hands on the drill its easy to bend the drill bit and it can break off in the wood.  

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 To commemorate this exciting mistake, Noah and Trevor made a plaque out of their piece of wood with the embedded drill bit for all to learn from.

 To commemorate this exciting mistake, Noah and Trevor made a plaque out of their piece of wood with the embedded drill bit for all to learn from.

And our crossy road team has been hard at work completing lots of different obstacles including a raised train bridge! 

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So many opportunities to practice our cutting and drilling skills.

Tomorrow is our final day of tinkering with this awesome crew. Be sure to check out our final blog post to see how the projects all turn out! To see all our photos from the week, don't forget to visit our Flickr photo page!

SF Day Camp - Giant Games - Week 1 - Day 2

Giant Games (2018), San Francisco Day CampMolly MansfieldComment

Today at Day Camp SF our project building was well under way. Each of the three project groups moved swiftly from 2D designs to building with wood and screws. By afternoon we were discovering the first challenges and difficulties with our designs and needing to problem-solve and be even more creative.

Each project involves moving parts and this afternoon we had our first Day Camp tinkerer workshop about mechanisms and simple machines. Tinkerers did small group rotations learning about levers, pulleys, wheels and axles, and gussets for strengthening joints. We will see how this new knowledge gets incorporated in the projects this week as we experiment with teaching tinkerers to include more mechanisms in their creative designs!

Be sure to check out many more photos of this week on our Flickr photo page! Stay tuned...

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