Tinkering School

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Day 1 - Slow, Steady Beginnings

2014 Session E - MiddlesJoshua RothhaasComment

The start of every Tinkering School session is a mix of rules, training, and tone setting. The staff is trying to figure out what this group is like, and the group is trying to figure out what this camp is about. Being an attentive group with solid listening skills we opt for a nonchalant start to the day. Sitting at the tables, Josh sets expectations. Be excellent to each other. Treat others as they would like to be treated. Don't be a jerk.

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We talk about the three primary rules of Tinkering School: Don't hurt yourself or anybody else; If you see a piece of fruit and want it, you must eat it; and Reasonable disputes are settled by ro-sham-bo (rock paper scissors)

From there we talk about knife safety. Tinkering School is proud to have been handing kids razor sharp knives with our names on them. The key tenets are having a sharp blade (sharp is always safer than dull) that locks, always be sitting while using a knife, check your blood bubble (the bubble around you in which someone might get hurt if you slip), and cut away from yourself. After having the kids recite these rules about 6 times, out come the stainless steel knives. They are gifts to the kids that we hope they take home and keep for a long time. With knives in hand, we head out to whittle.

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Along the way we meet the goats.

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From there it's on to tool training on the drills and chop saw. (you can see photo of most of the kids using the chop saw on our flickr)

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We learn to drill holes, drive screws and connect two pieces of wood together.

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And we end training with a demo about how strong wood is.

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After that it was a scrumptious dinner of chicken and vegetarian stir fry, a ton of fun building in the barn, an evening of music, and an atmosphere of comradery. A smooth, exciting beginning to our final week of Tinkering School!

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