Tinkering School

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Day 1 - Coalescence

2014 Session D - JuniorsJoshua RothhaasComment

Tinkerers sweep in, arriving slowly at first, then in bursts. Parents mill about, exploring, signing in, then hugs and goodbyes. Today is Sunday - the first day of a new session, of a new group, filled with potential. It's exciting and leisurely, fun mixed with pauses to absorb new tool training.

We gather as a group - introduce ourselves, and the talk about knife safety rules - and then, as Tinkering School tradition dictates, we all get a knife.

And the whittling begins.

Little sticks...

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Big sticks....

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A 2x3.... Any piece of wood will do.

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Portrait of a Tinkerer: Gretchen grins at the successful completion of the Tinkering School perfected pointy stick - the most popular project.

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And then it's off to one of the most important Sunday activities - chop saw training. Understanding how to use this much loved tool safely is vital for the week to come - with the exception of the drills, it's the most used power tools.

Josh explains the basics as the group looks on.

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And then everyone has a go - the best way to learn is to try it yourself.

For pictures of more of the kids having a turn - check out the flickr feed.

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The proper response to a "ready" call - a silent thumbs up, so that any loud objections can be heard.

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Portrait of a Tinkerer: Ryker, curious.

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We learn by doing - in order to understand the direction in which a 2 x 3 is strong, we jump on it to break it. After three successive kids make an attempt, Ludmilla tries...

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A crowd watches Josh as he demonstrates how to use the drills.

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Portrait of a Collaborator: Oren contemplates.

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Portrait of the Barn: The rafters.

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Small groups grab pieces of scrap wood and put to use what they've learned, practicing drilling holes and screwing boards together.

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Hands of a Tinkerer: Makai, pre-drilling.

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Portrait of a Tinkerer: Tekuru glances over.

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Dinner is filled with discussions: the classic "Jiro's boat" (a discussion of possession and identity), and further storytelling.

We finish the evening with an early birthday celebration for Kevin (a Junior Collaborator), armed with the pie she brought with her for the group to share.

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And as the group gets more familiar with one another, they discover that the ledge in the girl's dorm room makes a great bench

For hanging out and talking...

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Or for stretching out on...

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But as all days do, this one pulls to an end. We've amped up the excitement, learned a bit about each other, and learned lots about how to use the tools that will aid us in the week ahead. We've been quick to grasp hold of what we've learned and apply it - at whittling, at the chop saw, with drills - and when we wake up, we'll be ready to learn about our challenge.

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