Tinkering School

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Session E: Day 1 - Explorations

2016 Session E - MiddlesSerena G-H1 Comment

We're at the start of Session E. With four weeks of sessions behind us, Tinker City is officially at it's halfway mark. As campers arrive, check-in, and drop of their belongings, they also have the chance to get acquainted with what the previous week has put together.

The newly arrived campers head down the tracks to try out our train cars. 

Then it's time to gather for our first circle. We'll explore together what being at Tinkering School means throughout the week, but right now, we're getting our first taste. 

We have two David's this week - Dave's on the left, David on the right. They're both excited and ready to get started. 

Then we discuss the rules. We only have couple, but it makes them all the more important. We want to place trust in our tinkerers, and the three rules we've honed through eleven years of camp allow us to do just that. Gever asks for hands - who remembers Rule Number One? 

The first rule of Tinkering School is: "Don't hurt yourself, or anybody else." We place serious power tools in the hands of children, so this rule is by far and away the most important. We talk about why. But even aside from power tools, the rule applies to our interactions with our fellow camp mates.

Rule number two always gets grins when it's introduced: "If you see a piece of fruit, and you want it, then you must eat it." 

And rule number three requires a physical demonstration. At Tinkering School, Ro-Sham-Bo is used to settle all. Katherine and Fredrica are kind enough to demonstrate the proper execution.

Then it's off to tool training. Today we'll get to explore the tools we get a chance to use most frequently this week.  A group tackles the clamps. 

Collaborator Lindsay leads drill training and lends advice. 

Trinity, Lee, and Ewon watch as Collaborator Amanda explains the intricacies of the chop saw. 

Behind the conference center, a group practices their new skills with the drills. We rotate through each of these stations, so tinkerers get the chance to familiarize themselves with the tools. 

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Which screw length should we use to attach these boards? Lindsay challenges the kids to  decide. 

Amanda emphasizes the importance of ear protection. 

Collaborator Nik shows off how a clamp works by testing on his hand. 

Each kid gets a chance to wield the chop saw.  David takes a go. 

Lee works out how to attach two boards at a 90 degree angle. 

Portrait of a Tinkerer's Hands: the drill up close. 

The kids have rediscovered the "bobsled run" - it's fun to ride this little cart down the slope. Shoshi and Charlotte take a go. 

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The final rotation is a tour of Tinker City so far. All the platforms just seem so perfect for jumping from. Shoshi leaps from the stage. 

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Beckett jumps off the lower platform of the skyscraper. 

We head in for dinner, and then our first evening build prompt: put together a giraffe which can hold and chew a leaf in its mouth using no more than five screws and three clamps in one hour. We split into five teams, and start sketching. 

Half an hour in, we remember to bring down the camera. Full grown giraffes are already emergent. 

Alli designed the articulation system for her team's giraffe mouth. A string, attached to the board that acts as the lower jaw, passing between two screws that hold the roof of the mouth on. 

Bob installs a clipboard mouth on "Mr. Clippy."

This team has decided to see just how tall they can make their giraffe. They've got an 8' neck, and it's pretty awesome. 

David needs a ladder to put the finishing touches on his team's giraffe. 

The hour is up! It's time to test! Elijah prepares the jaws on "Bob" (which is what they're calling their giraffe).

We find a ceremonial leaf, which each giraffe successfully chews. 

All in all, we've explored a lot - the start of Tinker City, the rules of what it means to be here, and what, exactly, it means to build a giraffe. So far, so good - looks to be an exciting week ahead of us. 

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