Tinkering School

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Session A: Day 1 - It's All Uphill from Here

Sayuri FalconerComment

Welcome to Tinkering School! Today our campers arrived as expected, full of nervous and excited energy to learn to use power tools, work together to solve problems, and have fun making mistakes. 

Ronan, Lucy, and others experiment with our laid out Tinkering Catalyst kits while we wait for everyone to show up. Playing with battery packs attached to motors attached to wooden wheels immerses them in a deep focus. 

Ronan, Lucy, and others experiment with our laid out Tinkering Catalyst kits while we wait for everyone to show up. Playing with battery packs attached to motors attached to wooden wheels immerses them in a deep focus. 

In order to make sure we are safe, efficient, and happy this week we bring everyone together to go over rules in the first group circle of summer 2017!

Caroline, the Tinkering School Captain, discusses Rule #1 with the campers. Rule #2 is "If you see a piece of fruit, and you want it, you must eat it," and Rule #3 is "All disagreements are settled with Roshambo." This group decided by majority that we throw on the "Bo!"

Caroline, the Tinkering School Captain, discusses Rule #1 with the campers. Rule #2 is "If you see a piece of fruit, and you want it, you must eat it," and Rule #3 is "All disagreements are settled with Roshambo." This group decided by majority that we throw on the "Bo!"

First, everyone goes around and introduces themselves, their nickname, and what tool we feel a connection with: notepads, hammers, table saws, pocket knives, iPads, computerized drawing pads... Together we have quite the tool belt!

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Right after circle, we break up into groups of three. Daniel, Henry, Joe, and Julian embark on the first tour of the Elkus Ranch grounds, gradually making their way up the hill near the water towers where the build site is. (We'll be getting very familiar with this hill, up every morning and down every evening.)

Meanwhile, tool training is underway with plenty of time to get to know the woodshop and the drills, chopsaw, and clamps. 

In drill training, Caroline, Tsunami, Alpaca, and Rhea go over all the switches and moving parts of a drill. We have three kinds of drills here at Tinkering School Overnight: quick release, chuck, and impact drivers, and all Tinkerers get trained on ALL THE TOOLS!!!!!

In drill training, Caroline, Tsunami, Alpaca, and Rhea go over all the switches and moving parts of a drill. We have three kinds of drills here at Tinkering School Overnight: quick release, chuck, and impact drivers, and all Tinkerers get trained on ALL THE TOOLS!!!!!

Kaitlyn bravely takes on chopsaw training, and outlines the blood bubble, where fleshy human hands are not allowed. 

Kaitlyn bravely takes on chopsaw training, and outlines the blood bubble, where fleshy human hands are not allowed. 

Having been trained on the chopsaw, Justin takes it for a spin. Smooth, slow, and focused. 

Having been trained on the chopsaw, Justin takes it for a spin. Smooth, slow, and focused. 

Even if a camper has already used our tools before, another function of tool training is to let Tinkerers know where everything is and to orient them to the shop. 

Miles brings the drill practice group to the screws color-coded by size, for easy sorting. In his hand is a delicate drill bit for pilot holes, to prevent cracking in our wood.  

Miles brings the drill practice group to the screws color-coded by size, for easy sorting. In his hand is a delicate drill bit for pilot holes, to prevent cracking in our wood.  

After they have screwed together a simple square, the drill practice team picks it up and... it wobbles on its joints! Alysia says "Add one more screw in each corner?"

After they have screwed together a simple square, the drill practice team picks it up and... it wobbles on its joints! Alysia says "Add one more screw in each corner?"

It's important to make mistakes at Tinkering School, so that you and your friends can learn from them. In clamp training, Kevin asks the campers to identify what mistake she is making when using the squeezy blue clamp. Joe raises his hand: "The yellow part is hanging over the edge!" They're so ready to start building in the morning!

Miles explains crystal structure to Jack. "But if you have a double bond...?!"

Miles explains crystal structure to Jack. "But if you have a double bond...?!"

We play on tire swings until dinner is ready and then we feast! Tomorrow we learn what our project will be and get to build build build all day! Wow. We have so much ahead of us. 

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