Tinkering School

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TSO- A - Day 2- Going Up

2018 Session A - SeniorsTinkering School Staff1 Comment

Last night I realized that I hadn’t introduced myself. I am Ara, a new collaborator at the Tinkering School and the blogger for this week. I am very happy to be here and excitedly learning about this wonderful empowering environment that we are creating. Writing this blog is such a great introduction to the space since I get to be a part of everything and observe. I am slowly understanding how this intentional space is created and how the tinkerers and collaborators find their place in it.

The day started with an introduction to pulleys. Pulleys are used to change the direction and/or redistribute the weight of an object to make it easier to lift. To demonstrate this, we asked the tinkerers to talk about some different pulley mechanisms that were drawn on a board by Caroline. A thought that came up was that if there are more pulleys it would be easier to lift an object. So, of course the tinkerers were asked to build prototypes to test this hypothesis.

The preliminary structures were too weak and needed some more support and we got to work again, thinking of ways to reinforce our structures. The 1 pulley system group added an extra beam and the 3 pulley system group added triangles at the sides. We then tested both the systems to see which one was easier (spoiler: they should be the same!). Charlie claimed that the 3 pulley system was easier, much to my surprise, but we soon realized that both systems were pulling different weights, which wasn’t helpful for our experiment!

Once we had two loads of the same weight, we realized that they were essentially the same system, and the 1 pulley system was “smoother” than the 3 pulley system, which made us delve into understanding the role of friction. This also made us realize that pulleys can also be used to change direction. This small project was such a wonderful way to actually feel the concepts learnt in science class.

Loren then spoke to us about other, more efficient ways to assemble pulley mechanisms. We learned that pulley systems need to be combined in a specific way to be effective. More on this later! 

All of these lessons became more relevant as we moved into the BIG REVEAL!

The theme for this week is “Going up” and the groups are:
PIKI: Kaitlyn, Justin, Charlie, Brendan, Noa, Max, Emily.
NOOI: Reid, Alex, Aaliyah, Andy, Claire, Jared, Sasha.
KABLOOI: Rhody, Lyosha, Deniz, Sonia, Evan, Anthony, Rory.

Many exciting ideas were spoken about like building conveyor belts, chair lifts, gondolas, magic carpets, ferris wheels, elevators, tree houses that you take an elevator to and bridges. It is those seemingly unachievable ideas that are the most fun to work on since there remains a level of mystery which creates a space to tinker and problem solve together. This space is special since it is not about being better than someone else, it is about working together in a team to make the unachievable achievable.

Pilki is building a gondola lift which goes from one tree to another. They want to make it 100 feet long but first start testing on trees that are closer. Justin and Max work together to make tension straps by cutting out wood blocks and figure out ways to make precise holes in the center. Charlie, Brendan, Noa and Emily work together to create the chair, which the group is very proud of.

Kablooi is building a tree elevator that takes people to a treehouse on top of the tree next to the swings. They also discussed ideas about having some sort of a weight that will make you go up and down. It will be 15 feet high. Today this group built the elevator platform, a base for the platform to rest on and they also worked on leveling the surface of the tree (not by cutting it but by adding triangles!!) to rest a platform on.

Nooi is also working on an elevator. They are building a scaffolding within which the elevator operates. Today this group built one level of their project. They thought about sturdiness and strength of their structure and came up with a solution of adding more triangles!!!!!

We come back for dinner at six and unwind from this exciting day. Some people use the telescope to observe our surroundings and find [extremely noisy] cows in the hills, some play outside with the cart and others chat. As the evening unfolds some people go back to the worksite to tinker some more while others listen to music and unwind.

I look forward to tomorrow and I leave tonight happily tired and ready to sleep a good night’s sleep, but before that I think I will make myself a cup of mint tea and hang out with the wonderful tinkerers.

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