Tinkering School

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TSO-G- Day 6 - Bubble or Nothin'

Tinkering School Staff1 Comment

We start off our last day of building full of energy, or at least some of us did. Unfortunatley, a couple campers got sick the night before and had to stay at the conference center to make sure that they are rested for tomorrows presentation. 

 Kodi working on the wooden stopper block.

Kodi working on the wooden stopper block.

 Portrait of a tinkerer: Alex  

Portrait of a tinkerer: Alex  

 Elijah drilling through the metal stake 

Elijah drilling through the metal stake 

 Evan joyfully riding the zip-line.

Evan joyfully riding the zip-line.

The treehouse group put in a lot of time and effort into the zip line today, working and reworking the braking system. They first just tried to attach a wooden block stopper, but soon realized that it wouldn't stop anyone who weighed above 75 lbs. They then attached a bungee cord to a metal stake in the ground that would run along with the person riding it and stop them before the wooden block and then the wooden block would also catch them. That didn't fully stop them from running into the tree, so finally they combined all three ideas. They had the wooden block pulled up to halfway along the wire, a bungee cord attached to the end of the zip-line and to the start of it. That did the trick! They successfully got kids to safely ride on it, and to fully support collaborators. 

 Kate testing methods of blowing bubbles.

Kate testing methods of blowing bubbles.

The other half of the treehouse group worked on the bubble and railing component of the treehouse. They created a bubble around a human contraption out of pulleys and a large box of bubble juice created by the lovely collaborator Daniel. They also created a set of three swinging railings for where the platform of the zip-line is to make sure everyone stays safe. 

 Amaia and PK work on one of their bubble designs.

Amaia and PK work on one of their bubble designs.

 Ryan works on one of the carts attachments to the carousel. 

Ryan works on one of the carts attachments to the carousel. 

 Amaia tells the rest of the group what the carousel can do and will be able to do. 

Amaia tells the rest of the group what the carousel can do and will be able to do. 

The carousel group immediately finished attaching the carts to the actual carousel. They then spent some quality hard hours of trying to figure out how to make the bubble machines work. They figured out a different type of bubble machine for each cart, each having different mechanisms. All of them worked, they just didn't quite figure out how to get people onto the carts while still being able to spin. That is very much part of Tinkering School! Even if you don't finish your original planned project, you still got something done, and definitley ran into obstacles and different game changers throughout the week, and still being able to produce something after that is something to be immensley proud of. 

Your daily dose of funny staff photos!

 Lily tries to catch a bubble.

Lily tries to catch a bubble.

 Collaborators Morgan and Adam posing with their beautiful shaving cream beards.

Collaborators Morgan and Adam posing with their beautiful shaving cream beards.

 Collaborator Yoel joins them. 

Collaborator Yoel joins them. 

 Elijah and Lauren blow bubbles inside a bubble.

Elijah and Lauren blow bubbles inside a bubble.

After dinner, we headed back up the hill to celebrate our bubble city! We played around with the bubble juice and making huge bubbles, the zip-line, and of course, shaving cream. We celebrated our successes and our failures, understanding that a failure isn't a loss, that it is a learning experience. Getting through failures and trying to find a new opportunity through that failure is hard to understand but valuable in so many ways. 

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We headed back down the hill once again to the longstanding tinkering tradition of having a bonfire Friday night. We burn the scraps of wood from the build week, kind of a memorialization of the hard work put in during the week and all of the great memories that we made. We do the other tradition of Love Lasers. We go around the circle and as we get to each person, other people say funny memories or thank yous, apologies, you name it really. It is such a good time to let each other know that we appreciate them. 

We head back down to the conference center full of s'mores and laughter to either watch the movie Cool Runnings or to head to bed. After a long day of building and bubble making, we are all exhausted and ready for sleep.  

I never officially introduced myself as the writer of the blog. My name is Gretchen Witte, and I was a camper for 6 years and a staff member for 2. I am very honored and happy to have written the blog, and it has really given me a new perspective of Tinkering School. I hope this blog has been informational and enjoyable to see your children/friends working at their bubble city. Thanks so much for reading!

 

TSO-G- Day 5 - Pet a Bubble

Tinkering School StaffComment
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We start off day five refreshed and ready to build after yesterdays beach day and last nights good sleep. We head up the hill full of good ideas and plans for the day.

 The carousel group discusses their plan for the day.           

The carousel group discusses their plan for the day.           

 The carousel group works on the bubble machines.

The carousel group works on the bubble machines.

We get up the hill and immediately start working! The carousel group continues to build their bubble machines and attaching them to the carts. They make good progress on the machines, getting all four machines attached to all four carts.  

 Brody works with Morgan on the wire for the zip line.

Brody works with Morgan on the wire for the zip line.

 Ben testing the zip-line.

Ben testing the zip-line.

 Alex working on the stopping m=system for the zipline.

Alex working on the stopping m=system for the zipline.

Some of the treehouse group decides on making a zip-line attached to the treehouse platform, so they get right to it. 

 Alex and Evan sit in the treehouse.

Alex and Evan sit in the treehouse.

 Evan is working on the railings for the treehouse.

Evan is working on the railings for the treehouse.

The treehouse group heads up the hill with new ideas and further plans for the treehouse. Half of the group works on making railings for the deck, and the other half works on making a bubble shaped dome. 

After lunch, we experimented with bubbles. Some of us also worked on their own projects that they had been working during free build times.

After a long day of building, we head down the hill to get an animal tour done by Leslie. We visit the goats, the donkey, the llama, the rabbits, and Kaitlyn! 

When we get to the conference center we have dinner and then settle down for another movie night! Tonight we watched Atlantis.

After the movie is over, everyone slowly trickles to bed. The camp quiets down, resting for their final push tomorrow. 

TSO-G- Day 4 - Bubble Beach

Tinkering School StaffComment
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Today we took a break from building our bubble city and went to the beach! After breakfast we gather what we need for the beach and meet up with Julie about saftey at the beach. 

 Nina, Eleni and Kate test the water.

Nina, Eleni and Kate test the water.

After we arrived at Redondo beach, some immediately tested the water, some layed out their towels and started to read, and some got right into burying each other. 

 Kodi/Dave walks along the beach.

Kodi/Dave walks along the beach.

 Alex and Brody look at the water.

Alex and Brody look at the water.

 Portrait of a tinkerer: Ben, enjoying being buried.

Portrait of a tinkerer: Ben, enjoying being buried.

 Ryan takes a nap with his book in his hand dug hole.

Ryan takes a nap with his book in his hand dug hole.

 Kodi and Charlie bury Ben.

Kodi and Charlie bury Ben.

 Some crab friends!

Some crab friends!

 Pierce hits a can of Coke with a shovel, causing the can to explode and spray upwards.

Pierce hits a can of Coke with a shovel, causing the can to explode and spray upwards.

 Brody and Alex walk with their shovel down the beach.

Brody and Alex walk with their shovel down the beach.

 Ryan, Ben, and Charlie get buried by Evan, Sebastian, and Kodi.

Ryan, Ben, and Charlie get buried by Evan, Sebastian, and Kodi.

 Brody stands near a little cave.

Brody stands near a little cave.

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 The girls lie out on their towels, some reading, some napping, some writing, and some wave watching.

The girls lie out on their towels, some reading, some napping, some writing, and some wave watching.

 Charlie brushes the sand off of his jacket. 

Charlie brushes the sand off of his jacket. 

 Niyati digs a hole for one of her friends. 

Niyati digs a hole for one of her friends. 

 Pierce works on the hot-wheels track. 

Pierce works on the hot-wheels track. 

 Kate decides that the water is a lil' too cold.

Kate decides that the water is a lil' too cold.

 Sebastian stands in his hole, contemplating. 

Sebastian stands in his hole, contemplating. 

 Pierce runs away from an incoming wave. 

Pierce runs away from an incoming wave. 

 Portrait of a tinkerer: Lily.

Portrait of a tinkerer: Lily.

As lunch time rolled around we ate the sandwiches that we prepared after breakfast. The day continues on, and we have more relaxing times, play some games, discovered crabs, and just had a great day!

The staff had a fun and relaxing beach day as well!

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After we got back from the beach, all of the campers took showers to get all of the sand and salt off. We then had a scrumptious dinner of cheese and pepperoni pizza, and got on to our evening activity. Movie night! We watched The Princess Bride, an old time Tinkering classic. 

 

TSO-G- Day 3 - Poke a Bubble

Tinkering School StaffComment
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Welcome to day three! We start off the day with some fun activities, including lock picking, escaping from being tied up, and playing in a escape room. 

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After breakfast we all met up on the wooden benches outside of the conference center to discuss yesterdays accomplishments and todays goals. We then went up the hill to the build site to get down to business.  

 Eleni and Nina use the jigsaw to cut the platform for the tree house.

Eleni and Nina use the jigsaw to cut the platform for the tree house.

 Brody measures a piece of wood for the treehouse. 

Brody measures a piece of wood for the treehouse. 

 Eleni and Niyati work on one of the platforms for the treehouse.

Eleni and Niyati work on one of the platforms for the treehouse.

 Alex uses the jigsaw to cut one of the platforms for the treehouse. 

Alex uses the jigsaw to cut one of the platforms for the treehouse. 

The treehouse group worked on finishing the platform for their treehouse.

 The carousel group starting to work on their last cart.

The carousel group starting to work on their last cart.

 Portrait of a tinkerer: Lily 

Portrait of a tinkerer: Lily 

 Different members of the carousel group work on finishing their carts.

Different members of the carousel group work on finishing their carts.

 Amaia working on the bubble machine for the back of the carts.

Amaia working on the bubble machine for the back of the carts.

 Pierce is also working on the bubble machines.

Pierce is also working on the bubble machines.

The carousel group finished all of their carts, and started to work on the bubble machines that will be placed on the carts.

 Campers line up to get their sandwiches for lunch.

Campers line up to get their sandwiches for lunch.

 Lily working on her free build project!

Lily working on her free build project!

Turns out the collaborators also enjoy bubbles (and pull ups)!

After dinner, the evening activity was knife training! All of the campers went with Kaitlyn to learn and master their knife knowledge. The five rules are:

1. Blood bubble
2. Always cut away from yourself
3. Three points of contact.
4. Keep your knife locked
5. Keep your knife sharp

All campers earned a knife by demonstrating that they know the five rules and how to be safe with a knife. 

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When all of the campers had gotten their knives, we then celebrated Charlie's 13th birthday! We had ice cream sandwiches and wished that he had a wonderful birthday!

We go to bed full of ice cream sandwiches, laughs, and excitement about tomorrows beach day!

*We had some technical difficulties last night, sorry about the late post!*

TSO-G- Day 2 - Bubbles and Troubles

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We started off the day early, getting up to build an escape room/fort in the conference center. We then went on to breakfast and had some delicious pancakes and other assorted food, cooked by the wonderful chef Natty. 

 Ben working on the fort/escape room.

Ben working on the fort/escape room.

After breakfast it was time to reveal the project for the week. The project is........ BUBBLE CITY! Campers are going to build anything and everything bubbles! The main two ideas are bubble structure (a tree house with bubble themed structures) and moving bubble structures (a carousel with bubbles blowing out of the back of the carriages). Campers brainstormed ideas about the project and then shared/walked around and looked at other campers ideas. 

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We headed up the hill to get building. The treehouse group started off by building triangle supports and attaching them to the tree with ratchet straps. They then went on to build platforms, tables, and chairs for their treehouse, and started to work on the bubble machines that will be installed on the treehouse. The carousel group built their spinning base and two of the four carriages that will be attached to the spinning structure. 

 Nina and Eleni working on the project together.

Nina and Eleni working on the project together.

 Amaia drills the first cart together. 

Amaia drills the first cart together. 

 Ryan works on his free build project, a trebuchet.

Ryan works on his free build project, a trebuchet.

 Lily attaches a wheel to one of the carts.

Lily attaches a wheel to one of the carts.

Taking a snack break is an essential part of a tinkering day. 

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 Ben taking a break on the swing.

Ben taking a break on the swing.

As the building slowed to a halt, we reflected on the progress we had made throughout the day. The carousel group had built the entire spinning frame and two carts, and the treehouse group got the structure and parts of the platforms of their treehouse in the air. 

 Portrait of tinkerer: Aya

Portrait of tinkerer: Aya

The day comes to an end with a dinner of hamburgers and hot dogs. After dinner, some campers headed down to explore the creek, some campers went back up to the build site to have a "free-build," working independently on their own projects, and some campers stayed in the conference center with PK to play Dungeons and Dragons. We all head to bed with full stomachs, ready for tomorrow's adventures.

TSO-G- Day 1 - Sneak A Peek

2018 Session G - All AgesTinkering School StaffComment

Here at Tinkering School we have a blog for parents, relatives, and friends to see how camp works and how their camper is doing. In the next coming days we will be posting a blog every day on how the camp is progressing. 

The campers started to trickle in at around 3 pm, greeted by cookies, watermelon, and fun things to tinker with.

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After all of the tinkerers arrived we circle up to discuss our favorite ice cream flavor, spirit tool, and the three rules of camp. 1: Don't hurt yourself or anyone else. 2: If you see a piece of fruit and you want it, you MUST eat it. 3: Every dispute must be resolved through ro-sham-bo.

We then headed up the hill for tool training. The 5 different stations were: Drills, Drill practice, Clamps, Chop Saw, and finally Daniel's Magical Tour (of the worksite). 

 Alex swings joyfully on the tree swing. 

Alex swings joyfully on the tree swing. 

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When all of the tool training was done, it was time to train in a different subject: mountain lions and what to do if they come near by you. As you can see above, Kaitlyn protecting herself from mountain lion PK. 

 Brody's design for a hearth inside the yurts to keep them warm at night.

Brody's design for a hearth inside the yurts to keep them warm at night.

After a delicious dinner of chicken strips and potatoes, we continue on to the evening activity called sneak a peek! The game was to have one person go look at a structure by themselves, then come back to a team of builders who have the same materials as the structure and try to recreate verbally what it looks like so the teamates can rebuild it. 

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After dinner we played a couple rounds of some rambunctious card games, have a cup of hot coco, and get ready for bed.  Everyone headed to bed pretty early in preparation for a big day tomorrow. 

Robot Completion

2018 Session F - MiddlesTinkering School StaffComment

After a delicious breakfast made by Nattie, the campers headed up the hill for another day of hard work. Everyone was eager to finish up the last touches on their robots. The legs team was ready to work on perfecting their leg mechanism and to get their vehicle moving more efficiently. The wheels team was excited to attach their final wheels and get their vehicle rolling. 

Julie gave most campers a ride up the hill.

At the end of the day, the wheels team had a moving cart. Today, they attached three more wheels, finalized their steering mechanism, and attached their fences. The steering mechanism was accidentally attached so that turning the wheel right turns the cart left and vis versa. This was a challenge, but it did not take the campers long to get used to it. Everyone was working hard to get the robot done.

The legs team tested their vehicle multiple times throughout the day. By the end of the day, their robot was moving. Today, they attached supports underneath the vehicle and on their legs. They also connected the scoop to their robot. The day was filled with lots of trial and error and plenty of persistence. 

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JC, Michaela, found a spider in her backpack.

Throughout the day, the campers took breaks to whittled and eat snacks.

Adam and Morgan pretend to be in the Titanic.

After lunch and free build, everyone gathered to do a group show and tell about their progress. Each group explained what they had been designing and building for the past few days. Then, Daniel asked each person to think of the one thing that they were most proud of from camp and to share this with the group. 

In the afternoon, the campers went right back to their projects. They worked hard and were persistent. When it was time to go back down the hill for dinner, both teams had moving robots.

We ended the day with a campfire, and roasted s'mores and starbursts. The campers used cooking spray to create balls of fire in the air. They also got to watch Daniel burning a milk jug.

After the campfire, everyone came back to the conference center for a dance party! Nisa was turned into a mummy.

TSO-F- Day 5 - Robot Rising

2018 Session F - MiddlesTinkering School Staff1 Comment

After a well deserved break at the beach, everyone woke up energized and ready to continue their project. After breakfast, many campers had so much energy they played games like Speed and also did LARP-ing. At nine o'clock, we circled around on the benches and started our walk up to the build site. 

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The legs team was ready to assemble their legs and finish their scoops. The wheels team was excited to work on their steering mechanism and their massive rear wheel. Their steering mechanism has a steering wheel that goes through their chassis and attaches to a bar with a nut and bolt. It was a challenge to put together, but in the end very successful. The leg design is very technically complicated which leads to some frustration with the campers. They persevered and worked diligently through the afternoon. 

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Stella and Alex, on the wheels team, measure out wood for the wall of their vehicle. 

Campers work diligently to fix, tweak, and progress on their projects. They try to work through any problems before time is up. Fisher uses the drill press and chop saw. He practices the safety protocol by ensuring that everyone is ready before he makes his cut. AJ lays out pieces of wood to create his design. Stella uses the drill press to create holes for er axel. Siana drills holes for her scoop.

After free build, in the afternoon, the campers headed down the hill to visit Elkus Ranch's animals. The donkeys, Sassy and Pippy, were very calm and fun to feed. They liked getting their fur brushed. The llama, Spice, was very grumpy, staring angrily at the campers.

After visiting the donkeys, we ventured over to see the goats. The goats were very excited to see us, frolicking around their pen, always trying to get our attention. It wasn't hard for them, of  course, because of their irresistible cuteness. 

Next up were the chickens. Because they were injured, campers were not allowed to pick up the chickens. Even with this, they were fun to be around and pet. Twist was a common favorite.

After visiting the animals, they went back up the hill to continue their projects. Wheels team made a checklist of things to get done. They were able to connect their third wheel, create their pedals, and finalize their steering mechanism. 

Throughout the day, campers took breaks to swing, whittle, and have snacks.

The legs group worked on re-designing their scoops, so they wouldn't be as heavy or bulky. They also worked on assembling the legs of their vehicle. 

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At the end of the day, campers headed back down the hill to dinner. After dinner, campers had the option to have free build time. At free build, the Leg team got their structure on its feet. We finished off the night with everyone watching Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole. The campers went to sleep anticipating their final push tomorrow. We can't wait to see what they accomplish!

TSO-F- Day 4 - Beach Adventure

2018 Session F - MiddlesTinkering School StaffComment

The campers woke up, excited for beach day. We eat a delicious and filling breakfast, made by RAD (Ryker, Aj, and Daniel), in preparation for the big day ahead of us. After breakfast, everyone gets ready for the beach, equipped with their towels, bathing suits, and water bottles, ready to explore, get wet, and hang out. We all meet at the circle of benches, right outside the conference center, and Caroline makes sure we're all sun-screened up before we go. Then we divide up into groups, to fit in several cars, and leave.

 Caroline's own words coming back to get her

Caroline's own words coming back to get her

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Fisher explores the hills through the telescope as he waits to leave for the beach. 

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Before going to the beach, Alex and Divya look for ladybugs. 

 Collaborator, Adam, notices me taking photos.

Collaborator, Adam, notices me taking photos.

After the meeting, everyone hops into cars, and we make our way to the beach. 

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We make our way down the difficult and narrow path trying to avoid falling into the water. Unfortunately, one camper dropped their water bottle over the edge of the cliff and into the water. Some of us were also unlucky to fall into the water while making our way down to the beach.

 The campers try to navigate across the treacherous cliff and make their way towards the beach.

The campers try to navigate across the treacherous cliff and make their way towards the beach.

The campers and a few collaborators grow annoyed with having to wait so long. Luckily, Daniel comes to the rescue! 

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Daniel helps each individual camper down the cliff. 

One by one, the campers jump done from the cliff onto the beach.

Beach day was filled with many activities. Some campers relaxed and read books, while others built tracks for toy cars or explored the caves. Daniel took a group of campers to 

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After a while, everyone enjoyed a sandwich that they had made in the morning.

After lunch, the campers had fun throwing colorful cornstarch at each other. 

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It was discovered that when the colored starch is mixed with water, it creates oobleck!

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On the way back from the beach, we stop at a local boba shop, Boba Dude, to refresh after our long day at the beach.


After we get back from boba, we all hopped in the showers getting ready for dinner. After dinner, everyone felt revitalized and energetic. We were then told to circle up outside. 

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Caroline gathers us all at the benches and announces that she will be training all the campers on how to use knives! 

Knife training is a big part of Tinkering School. It's not only a souvenir campers get to take from Tinkering School, but also a right of passage. In knife training, there are five rules that are learned and tested. If the camper passes, they will get to use the knife throughout the week on a probational period. If they are caught using the knife unsafely, their knife will be taken away. However, if they properly use the knife throughout the week, they will be able to take their knife home. The five knife safety rules are: 
1. Always cut away from yourself
2. Safety bubble
3. Three points of contact
4. Always keep your knife locked
5. Always keep your knife sharp

 

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To close out the night, we voted on a movie, and unsurprisingly, The Princess Bride won. A few campers made hot chocolate and cookies to share. After the movie ended, the campers got ready to go to bed, preparing for their big push tomorrow. 

TSO-F- Day 3- Robot Build

2018 Session F - MiddlesTinkering School StaffComment

The morning begins with campers eating breakfast and taping Viggo and many others to chairs in an attempt for the "prisoners" to escape. 

 

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After breakfast, the campers went up the hill and jumped back into their projects. The teams met up to decide how to move forward with their robots. 

Team wheels started putting their steering mechanism together while team legs redesigned their legs and built a fence around the body of their cart.

Aj works on the scooping mechanism for the legs group. Some campers learned how to use the angle grinder, hand saw, and jigsaw. 

In the afternoon, campers had free build time and got to work on personal projects. Some of the projects included a hammock, a treehouse, skateboards and chairs.

After free build, the campers went back to work on their projects. At the end of the day, the legs team had finished the body of their robot and had started assembling the legs. The wheels team attached two out of three wheels to their robot and created a steering wheel. 

Before dinner, some campers rode down the hill in Julie's truck.

The campers eat a wonderful dinner prepared by Natty. Later they watched a documentary about a girl who sailed around the world in a year. Then after a few more activities it was bed time. 

TSO-F- Day 2 - Robot Rally

2018 Session F - MiddlesTinkering School StaffComment

As we slowly wake up, a hot breakfast is waiting for us. The campers then took some time to play at the tinker table and experiment with LEDs and batteries.

At 9 o'clock, we all meet. Caroline starts the meeting off by asking what kind of rules they would like to have set for themselves. The campers come up with:

1. Keep your group informed (i.e. make sure everyone is involved and knows what is going on).
2. Have a plan and stay organized.
3. Be kind, ask politely, and treat others how THEY want to be treated. *The campers had originally had "Treat others how you want to be treated." But Caroline and Daniel said "What if you want peanut butter on your face, does that mean its okay for me to put peanut butter on Daniels face?" Then the campers decided to change the rule to "Treat others how THEY want to be treated." 
4. Say "Yes! And..." to new ideas; don't shut down other peoples ideas, instead build off of them.
5. Ask "How can I help?"
6. If there is an emergency, find a collaborator that can help you.

Once they finish coming up with the list, Caroline has them each sign it, as a contract for how they need to be when working in groups. 

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After the campers sign the paper, they all sit back down and for the project reveal. Caroline asks the campers what they think a robot is. Some campers imagine robots, like Baymax from Big Hero Six, some are thinking more along the lines of Siri. Caroline asks the campers to come up with a robot and draw it. 

After the campers finish their drawings, everyone stands up and walks around to observe everyones ideas. Many campers have really cool ideas of what they would have if they could create their robot. 

After they go over these ideas together. They come up with the observation that most of the designs can hold people and/or have wheels. The campers decide that it would be cool if they could make a robot that could hold a few people and move in some sort of way. The campers go back to the drawing board, to come up with more ideas. 

Two of the more popular designs that came up, could hold multiple people, and moved. The campers were interested in both robots using wheels, and mechanical legs.

The campers get split into two groups: wheels and legs.

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The groups each have a set of challenges they must face. The Leg group is in charge of making a robot that moves with mechanical legs, and must be able to grab things. The wheels group is in charge of making a robot that moves, using wheels, must be able to go uphill, and it must be able to grab things. 

The campers meet up with their groups to start designing. 

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 Project lead, Adam, works with a few of his team members experimenting with motors.

Project lead, Adam, works with a few of his team members experimenting with motors.

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As camp progresses, the clothespin war gets more and more intense.

After brainstorming and planning out their designs, they head up the hill to start building. Although most walked, some campers rode up on the back of Julie's truck. Everyone met up with their teams, gathered materials, and got to work.                                                                               

Throughout the day, tinkerers took breaks on swings, made by previous campers, and explored the area.

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During lunch, the collaborators held a shady staff meeting.

After lunch, the campers continued working on their projects, even through their free-build time.  Overall the campers had a very productive afternoon.

Nisa made a skateboard and Viggo decides to test it out.

As sunset nears, we decide to circle up again and Kaitlin closes us out. She asks each group what progress they've made, letting them reflect on their busy day of building. The group heads down for a well-deserved dinner. 

As the group prepares to head down, Julie offers rides in her truck. The campers enjoy the ride as the breeze blows by their faces. 

The day winds down with a delicious dinner and entertaining games. As the campers slowly trickle to their yurts, the camp becomes still and the campers fall asleep in preparation for their work-filled day tomorrow. 

TSO-F - Day 1 - Tools and Rules

2018 Session F - MiddlesTinkering School Staff2 Comments

Hello! As you may already know, here at Tinkering School Overnight, we have a fun blog for parents, siblings, ants, uncles, grandparents, and even friends to check out what the campers are up to this week. We capture the fun and creativity campers experience here and put it into a blog to tell a story of how the day went, and we explain the projects campers are working on. So lets get started and we hope you enjoy this weeks blog. 

Campers arrive at 3. Some settle down and head in the conference center. Uno instantly became a popular game. Lock picking has also absorbed some campers. Daniel teaches a few campers how to lock and unlock the handcuff. Viggo decides to test his new knowledge by handcuffing himself to the chair.  

A few people begin playing with straws.  We found out that they make cool structures, and awesome hats.

Fisher, Kenzo, and Niko quickly become friends, and start working at the tinker table together.

At around 4:15, the campers circle up. Before the meeting,  conversations are silly and mainly about the things they've done over the summer. Caroline, our camp captain, starts off the meeting by off by having the campers go around the circle and saying their name and what they consider their spirit tool to be.

The campers learn about the three main rules of Tinkering School with Caroline explaining in detail and with visuals. As Caroline explains, Kaitlyn acts as her scribe, recording the rules onto a whiteboard so that they can be displayed throughout the week and easily followed. The rules are:

1. Do not hurt yourself or anyone else.
2. If you see a piece of fruit, and you want it, you must eat it. *Unless it's on a tree
3. Any dispute is solved by RO SHAM BO.

Next, they started the night activity. First, the challenge was described by Kaitlyn, then the campers were split into groups. In the challenge, one team member would view a hidden object and then  describe it to their group without the ability to see what their group was making. As the challenge went on, the groups were given the option to change the viewer for a new set of eyes. The challenge ended after many rounds and lots of tinkering. Many new friendships were formed. 

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After the challenge, they all circle up and Caroline teaches the campers how to defend oneself against a mountain lion, should they encounter one. Although we haven't seen a mountain lion this year, one was spotted last year near the camp site, so teaching proper protocol seems necessary.

By dinner, new friendships had begun to form. It was a great opportunity to get to know new people, or make faces at them. At dinner, Caroline also introduces the dish washing process.

As dinner was wrapping-up, some campers experimented with the projector Daniel brought out. They began to "draw" on each other.

Clothespins have become a big part of Tinkering culture in the past few weeks. A clothespin war broke out resulting in the clothespins being taken away. Because of this, Viggo decides to create his own.  


After dinner, we head up to the worksite to start tool training. Group 1 starts off with Daniel and he explains why it is important to pick up screws and other materials they use. We call Screws on the ground "Dead Baby Goats" because during the off season, when we are not here, goats come up to the area to eat grass. If there are screws, the goats could eat them.

Kaitlyn is in charge of the chop saw training and she explains all the important things to do before you can cut the wood. These things include:

1. Getting your safety goggles and ear protection

2. Have a collaborator that is at least 18

3. Make sure everyone is ready by asking "Is everybody ready?"  If one's in the workshop, and they're ready, they'll give a silent thumbs up. However, if they are not ready, they'll say, "I'm not ready!"

 I saw a fox while the campers were exploring the forrest and playing on the swings.

I saw a fox while the campers were exploring the forrest and playing on the swings.

Daniel shows the campers what poison oak looks like.  He also shows the campers what Tecnu is: a special soap that gets the oils from poisonous plants, like poison oak, off of your skin to stop an allergic reaction from occurring.

As the sun goes down and the fog rolls in, tool training wraps up. The campers head back down the hill and into the conference center.

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During quiet time, the campers were each given a sketch book to put all their amazing ideas and drawings down on paper.

 AJ notices me taking photos and pretends to be writing something, which was fine, the only problem was that he forgot to grab a pencil.

AJ notices me taking photos and pretends to be writing something, which was fine, the only problem was that he forgot to grab a pencil.

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In the kitchen, hot cocoa is being made. A few campers decide they want whipped cream on their cocoa.  They discovered that we have no whipped cream in the fridge, so Alex and Kennedy put Heavy whipping cream in a bowl and started whisking it. After a few minuets they decided to use a drill and a fork to mix it faster. That, however, did not work very well and they ended up putting it into a jar to shake it until it turned in to whipped cream, which worked faster. 

After cocoa was served, The campers got ready for bed and it was lights out by 10 most of the campers stayed up a bit longer to read.

TSO-E- Day 6 - The Maiden Voyage Comes To An End

2018 Session E - All AgesTinkering School StaffComment

We wake up energized for our final day of working. When we got to the worksite, Micheala employs Kaitlyn's extremely hot knife skills to cut through rope.

Meanwhile, Aidan and Finn measure and calculate where to put the wheels on their pirate ship train.

Then, Isabella uses the drill press to drill perfectly sized holes for the wheels to attach to.

At the same time, Ben, Cate, Swaggy Dog, and Potatoness put in supports for their pirate ship train.

Lauren and Sage add in more supports for their floor extension.

Then, Henry goes for a test run in the pirate ship zip line.

Ally paints her team a pirate flag as Caroline draws a maiden head out of sharpie!

Lunch seems to take us by surprise after a morning filled with such hard work. Of course there's the usual swinging and whittling by Nave, Isabella, and Kya, but today we also get some surprise visitors from our neighboring camp. Michaela, Isabella, Niko, and Ang demonstrate the pirate zip line for these younger kids, and soon a line forms. 

For free build, Paul builds a foldable bungee chair and Nave photobombs his demo.

Cate, Sage, Jack, and Kya also hang up their swing and employ Kiana and Finn to help test it out before allowing everyone to enjoy it.

Then everyone gets right back to work as Potatoness works with Adam to staple gun his flag onto the mast, Ang and Micheala figure out what needs to be added to their zip line ship, and Ben and Aidan show off their pirate flag.

As we get closer to the end of the day, Caroline helps Finn, Potatoness, and Isabella test out their pulley powered ship.

Then, with the mast and sail attached, Cate, Isabella, Aidan, and Adam set sail!

After a delicious pizza dinner, we head out to the fire pit for our end of the week campfire.

Everyone places bets on when the tower will fall and we shoot around some love lasers (compliments or fun stories about anyone at camp). Reminiscing gets everyone laughing and emotional...

We end the night with s'mores by the campfire, as all the best nights end.

TSO-E- Day 5 - Coming Together

2018 Session E - All AgesTinkering School StaffComment

We all wake up with a delicious french toast breakfast thanks to our wonderful chef, Natty. We then head up to the work site for the second-to-last-time. We briefly plan out what to do for the day...

and get started!

A few tinkerers got to use some pretty cool tools.

And, right before lunch, Lauren, Paul, and Jack set their floor extension support in place.

During lunch, Nave does his best Green Arrow impression, Potatoness and Finn share a chair, and Finn and Nave climb some trees.

For free build, Henry whittles, Cate, Jack, and Sage finish up their rope bench, Michaela and Ang made a one-legged stool, and Ben and Potatoness make a massage table.

Then, Adam works with Aidan and Isabella to connect their tracks.

Micheala, Ang, and Niko finish up their zip line boat.

Meanwhile, Paul, Lauren, Jack, Nave, Sage, and Kya place their floor extension and put in supports for their crow's nest.

Waiting for dinner, Kya utilizes her time with some more whittling.

We finish up the day with card games, handcuff escaping races, and baking cookies! We'll all have a good night's rest tonight!

TSO-E- Day 4 - Seas-ing the Day

2018 Session E - All AgesTinkering School StaffComment

It's beach day! We have to take a couple trips to get to Redondo Beach, so tinkerers Finn and Henry read as they wait.

Once we get to the beach, Finn, Paul, and Henry begin to explore the cliffs.

Then, of course, playing tag in the water!

Nave even finds a seawhip (non-technical term) by the tide pools.

Although hot, the beach sun provides some beautiful lighting for portraits. Ang poses for a quick pic while Kya admires a ladybug, and Kiana tries on my sunglasses.

After lunch Finn and Kya enjoy some more reading.

Right before we leave, a little more exploring ensues...

After we get back and everyone takes a shower, we watch Treasure Island and go to bed with dreams of sky pirates. Good night Tinkering School!

TSO-E- Day 3 - Goats and Knives

2018 Session E - All AgesTinkering School Staff1 Comment

Good morning Tinkering School! After a quick breakfast we head up to the build site to get started for today.

Michaela, Ang, and Kiana start out by planning what to do for the day.

Niko works with Kaitlyn to cut out angel wings for a flying pirate ship.

Everyone makes excellent use of the morning build time, assembling various pieces for their projects.

Gladly we all take a lunch break after such a productive morning. Still, the announcement of free build picks everyone back up.

Kiana drills a hole to hang up her sign, Lauren burns the end of the rope for her friendship bracelet so it doesn't fray, Michaela and Henry paint the side of their project, and Sage, Kya, Jack, and Cate work to make a rope chair.

For the second half of our build day, we get some awesome structures up.

Caroline helps Ally, Sage, Paul, Jack, and Lauren hoist up the support for their crow's nest.

Then, Caroline, Paul, and Lauren lift the crow's nest up to be attached. 

Adam helps Ally, Nave, Jack, and Lauren haul over a support.

Then, we get an extra break: a farm tour!

Back at the build site we squeeze in a little more work before dinnertime.

Swaggy dog and Isabella drill their plywood floor onto supports.

We're just about ready to head back, but not before some fun with animal crackers!

After resting awhile, Caroline makes an exciting announcement: it's time for knife training. In order to earn and keep your knife each tinkerer must abide by our knife safety rules.

1. Cut away from yourself.
2. Make sure everyone is at least an arm's length away while using your knife.
3. You must have three contact points to a sturdy surface while cutting.
4. Keep your knife locked at all times.
5. Keep your knife sharp.

We practice using the knifes before getting them for the week.

Later that night, as we whittle away at the time and our sticks, the power goes out! Thankfully, it comes back on just in time for bed, so we can all get a good night's rest before beach day!

TSO-E- Day 2 - Building and Failing

2018 Session E - All AgesTinkering School StaffComment

Tinkering School day 2 started bright and early as everyone jumped out of bed, excited to hear this week's project theme. After breakfast, our Camp Captain, Kaitlyn, announced what we would be working on for the next five days...becoming sky pirates! Bursting with ideas, tinkerers began brainstorming within their three groups. That is, after making group agreements: rules that the group communally decides to abide by for working in teams. 

Finally, we all head up to the work site and get started. 

Kiana and Ben pick out wood to work with.

Lauren, Jack, and Nave find the perfect piece of plywood for their ship floor.

And then get to work...

Kiana and Kya mark the wood for a cut.

Finn and Cate work on supports for their treetop ship.

 

Meanwhile, others work on individual pieces for their projects.

Some tinkerers even learn to use some new tools!

Caroline shows Lauren and Jack how to properly use the circular saw, while Sam shows Potatoness, Paul, and Swaggy Dog to use the electric sander.

Time for lunch!

After enjoying our various panini pressed sandwiches, some take to the swings while others bond over singing the entire Hamilton soundtrack.

After lunch we have a little time to free build, or build whatever we can think of with whoever we want.

Potatoness, Paul, and Finn sand the bike seat in a bicycle improvement effort.

Cate, Jack, and Sage work on a project TBD in the next free build session.

 

After free build we have one last push to do the most we can on our projects before dinner.

Ara gives Henry a small boost to help attach a tree zip line.

 

Finally, we end the day with Tinkering School's signature learning opportunity: making mistakes!

While tightening the zip line, our rope suddenly breaks from the extreme stress! We decide to implement paracord tomorrow morning.

Riding down the hill on the newly improved bike, the front wheel couldn't quite take the rocky terrain and fell off! Tomorrow we will restrategize and reattach the wheel for more testing.


It's been a long day at Tinkering School finishing off with a creek exploration and a private viewing of The Princess Bride in our very own conference room. Now, tucked away in bed, we dream of the bigger and better things we will build tomorrow!

TSO-E - Day 1 - The First Sunset

2018 Session E - All AgesTinkering School StaffComment
 A last effort to finish up before the the sun sets.

A last effort to finish up before the the sun sets.


As everyone starts to trickle in, we start off our first day with some regular shenanigans. Kya, Isabella, and Caroline (a collaborator) team up to build the latest and most adaptable piece of high fashion: The Straw Hat/Dress.

Once everyone has arrived, we hold opening circle where we introduce ourselves and explain Tinkering School's three rules:

1. Don't hurt yourself or anyone else..
2. If you see a fruit and you want it, you should eat it.*
*Don't take fruit off trees.
3. All disputes will be settled with "Ro Sham Bo"

Right before dinner we go into our evening activity: a challenge where each group must recreate a structure based only off of one teammate's brief description. 

After we eat, we walk up to the build site for some tool training! We learn how to safely use tools like...

Clamps!

The Chop Saw!

and...Drills!

Finally we finished off the day with some homemade hot cocoa and whipped cream, tinkering school style!

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TSO-C/D - Day 13 - Friday Feast

2018 Session C/D-MiddlesTinkering School StaffComment

It's Friday which means it's the last day to build. There are a lot of refining and finishing touches to add. At the end of the day, we will hold our long anticipated feast. 

The ferris wheel team jumps into seat reinforcements.

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Aaron and Chris work on a loading platform for the ferris wheel.

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Katherine builds a ladder to get on top of the platform

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Vince makes adjustments to the 0-Grav Chair by adding an improved strap system.

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TIme to test the changes.

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Spencer and Zachary spray glue to make the canvas rigid, allowing for holes to drilled in the canvas without it fraying.

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Eisen and PK drill a hole for bungee to be threaded through which will create a boxing ring look.

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Arianna tests out the pulley system that lifts the doors simultaneously.

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Charlotte and Morgan add more sections to the bridge.

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In the process they accidentally split one of the pieces of wood, creating a cool photo opportunity.

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Soon there will be enough bridge to walk on.

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The feast team is almost done with the table and benches that we will sit on for the feast.

Watermelon paints banners for the festival.

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Katherine tests out the loading platform for the ferris wheel.

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The bridge team does their first weight test.

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Others are excited to hop on.

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Soon enough, the segments span the whole length of the bridge.

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The Thunderfoam is ready for battle.

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With the doors raised, the battle is on.

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The day passes quickly and its time for our feast.

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We enjoy a feast in the forest.

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Because of all the structures, the feast a vertical element.

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After our feast, we head down for our closing fire. At the fire, we share memories from the week and eat s'mores and starbursts. Tomorrow we will show off our projects and then deconstruct the Kingdom of TInkering School.

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TSO-C/D - Day 12 - The Wheel Deal

2018 Session C/D-MiddlesTinkering School StaffComment

Energized after a hiatus from building, tinkerers rush to start where the left off at the end of Tuesday.

The ferris wheel team quickly picks off with a new seat design. 

This time the seat comfortably can fit both tinkerers and collaborators.

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More benches are constructed for the feast.

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Savan cuts plywood which will be used as the bench top.

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The thunderdome team (now called thunderfoam as the combat will be with foam weapons), adds canvas to the door frames. The canvas will be lifted up with a pulley system, releasing the combatants.

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Arianna and PK get creative to reach to the top of the thunderfoam.

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Watermelon with 3 of the 4 new ferris wheel seats.

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With all the pieces ready, it is time to construct the wheel.

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The next step is to line the two sides of the wheel up at the corners.

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A finished bench is transported to the table in the forest.

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The ground is slanted so the team needs to add to the legs to level the bench.

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The bridge team starts adding segments to the tensioned cable.

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The wheel is finally ready to lift off the ground.

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The axle is knocked with a dead blow so that the wheel sits center.

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It takes a couple whacks.

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We move the wheel to the side supports.

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It all fit after some wiggling.

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A rotating chair is set up as an additional attraction at our growing festival.

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Savan, as the lightest tinkerer, tests the ferris wheel first when it is time to spin it.

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Pure joy ensues.

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After all our testing, the ferris wheel still stands tall. Tomorrow the team will improve the seats, making them more sturdy.

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Being the last build day, the teams tomorrow will push to have finished projects. Soon, the Kingdom of Tinkering School will have a grand festival.

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