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Session E - Day 6 - Chasing Windmills…

Tinkering School Staff3 Comments

Whew! Talk about a busy day. The real blog entry for Friday will be coming very soon, but because the day ended up being so stuffed with action, it required a bit more work to capture all the awesomeness.

Until then, please enjoy this photo of the ever-evolving windmill — a.k.a. Officially the Tallest Tinkering School Structure We Have Ever Made™! (Oooh, exciting.)

Later today (for you, loyal blog reader): an extra-packed edition of the Friday blog, with an extra helping of awesomeness.

Later today (for the kids): a fantastic afternoon full of sailing — yes, sailing! — aboard the magnificent 82' schooner, the S.S. Seaword!

Session E - Day 5 - Children Of The Sea and The Terrible Tinkertomb

Tinkering School Staff2 Comments

Today was beach day! We put down our drills, saws, blowtorches, and windmills and headed off to the beach for a day of jumping off of small sandstone cliffs, freezing salty water, and band aids (nothing serious. promise.)

Pictured (left to right): Johnny, Daniel, Turtle Man

Pictured (left to right): Johnny, Daniel, Turtle Man

We started off our day with some high shutter speed jumping photography, which soon became a whole group activity!

Pictured (left to right): Diego, Turtle Man

Pictured (left to right): Diego, Turtle Man

Pictured: Eisen

Pictured: Eisen

After an hour of jumping, doing tricks in the air, and creating a jump squad called "The Smooth Guys," we took a Craisin break...

Pictured: Zach

Pictured: Zach

...we headed off to the tide pools for some exploration of sea anemonemonemonemones (Finding Nemo reference), and whatever else we could find!

Pictured: Onion

Pictured: Onion

Pictured: Diego

Pictured: Diego

Pictured: Onion

Pictured: Onion

We founds tons of little crabs, big crabs, sea snails, sea anemones, and even large spots in the tide pool that were big enough to swim in!

After we were done in the tide pool area, we headed on back to our area and started playing a game that was brand new to Tinkering School. The game is called, "Everyone Bury Max."

And just moments later, he was absolutely buried, sunglasses on of course.

But soon after Max was buried, he fell asleep. Which left everyone with no collaborator to pile sand on top of... thus, the Tinkertomb was born.

Once the Tinkertomb had grown to an almost unimaginable size, we decided to bring it in for one last jump off of the cliffs, and then head back to camp for some dinner, showers, and games of closely monitored truth or dare.

Tomorrow, it is back to another day of hard work. But with a break from the projects, there is no doubt that the fresh minds will lead to success in the shop. But for now, goodnight.

Session E - Day 4 - Wake Me Up! Before You Go Pee

Tinkering School Staff2 Comments

It's our fourth day together and there is a lot to cover about this day!

This was an extremely hard working day. Most teams had their first iteration of their projects almost complete, which is crazy as it it has only been four days! The morning started off pretty chill. After a tasty waffle breakfast hand crafted by the one and only Agent P, we watched a short movie about William Kamkwamba, the person who built an electricity generating windmill to power his village in Malawi, to give our campers a story about someone building energy generating machines like ours.

After this, we walked up to the shop to start working on our projects. The day before, Miles had built a tablesaw jig so that the potential energy team could cut out their wheels and mount them to their cart. As soon as we got up to the build site, Gever worked with the team and taught them how to use the jigs.

Pictured (left to right): Madelyn, Johnny, Savan, Morgan, and Michaela

Pictured (left to right): Madelyn, Johnny, Savan, Morgan, and Michaela

And moments later, we had wheels!

Over at the windmill, they continued building their main structure in hopes of raising their windmill by the end of the day.

Gus ponders various philosophies. 

Gus ponders various philosophies. 

Pictured (left to right): Turtle Man, Cyrus, Yoel, Zach, and Gus

Pictured (left to right): Turtle Man, Cyrus, Yoel, Zach, and Gus

For the creek civilization team, the morning started with a group pow-wow and planning discussion about what every member of the team wanted to accomplish that day. The verdict was taking the 16 foot bridge they had built, down to the creek.

Pictured (left to right): Frannie, Laila, Isabella, William, Ben, and Micha

Pictured (left to right): Frannie, Laila, Isabella, William, Ben, and Micha

And after a brief kitten break...

Pictured: Turtle Man

Pictured: Turtle Man

...the work really started, right as the sun came out!

Pictured (left to right): Johnny, Max

Pictured (left to right): Johnny, Max

The potential energy team was trying to figure out a way to mount the axle to the frame with very low friction, so they called over the on site gear head and leather jacket owner, Max. With some consultation, they designed and built two iterations of what they called a "wheelbox." It includes two skateboard wheels on bolts that balance an axle to create extremely limited friction. 

After they measured the two holes that the bolts would go through to support the wheels, some materials got their feelings hurt.

Meanwhile, over at the windmill team, they prepped their rear support for mounting once the windmill was raised up.

Pictured (left to right): Turtle Man, Caroline, Onion, and Matthew

Pictured (left to right): Turtle Man, Caroline, Onion, and Matthew

Down at the creek, the team carried part of their bridges down to the area where they would be installed. 

Pictured (left to right): Eisen, Yoel, Diego, Zach

Pictured (left to right): Eisen, Yoel, Diego, Zach

Pictured (left to right): Tenley, Turtle Man, Isabella, Victoria, Liora, Diego, Ben, Eisen, Laila, and Cyrus

Pictured (left to right): Tenley, Turtle Man, Isabella, Victoria, Liora, Diego, Ben, Eisen, Laila, and Cyrus

And, to end such a successful day, the windmill was in fact raised. 

We then settled in for a mac and cheese dinner, and training on how to use our Opinel knives, taught by Caroline.

Last night, a mountain lion was spotted around the area where our yurts are. Luckily our staff chased it away and it did not come back, but in light of this, we have chosen to drag our mattresses out of our yurts and sleep inside the conference center tonight.And after we brought our mattresses in from the yurts to the conference center...

Pictured: Diego and Turtle Man

Pictured: Diego and Turtle Man

...we ended the night with cookies, and The Iron Giant!

Also -

after a conversation with the Elkus Ranch manager, we now know that one of the best ways to keep mountain lions away is to create a perimeter... out of human urine. 

So - 

some of our wonderful campers have volunteered to create said perimeter, and have dubbed themselves "The Pee Squad." Hence the title of this blog entry. You're welcome :)

Anyway, back to today. 

This was a super fun day, even though we're all sleeping in the same room tonight... 

Stay tuned for another day of tinkering, engineering challenges, and fun desserts. Goodnight for now. 

Session E - Day 3 - Bonding

Tinkering School Staff5 Comments

This two-week session is unfolding a little differently than most sessions. We have the luxury to get to know each other better, to tinker a little more, to gain more expertise with our tools. This was evident today: sure, we built, but we also had a lot of fun.

Morgan explains the gravity car model to Carles, our new volunteer from Barcelona. 

Morgan explains the gravity car model to Carles, our new volunteer from Barcelona. 

The various teams split off to work on their projects. The water power team started down at the creek to re-check some measurements, the wind power team continued the existing windmill re-vamp, and the gravity team explored their wheel boxes.

The Water Power group had a small bridge team focus on a way to get humans and materials across the water after many of them got tired of wet feet.

The Water Power group had a small bridge team focus on a way to get humans and materials across the water after many of them got tired of wet feet.

Blueberry tries out the table saw for the first time to cut a bottom for a pulley-powered basket.

Blueberry tries out the table saw for the first time to cut a bottom for a pulley-powered basket.

Victoria and Onion have become a powerful work duo. Onion asked, "Is it possible to cut two pieces of wood at the same time?"

Victoria and Onion have become a powerful work duo. Onion asked, "Is it possible to cut two pieces of wood at the same time?"

Before long, it's time for lunch! Our steward, Paul, keeps our bodies food-powered.

NOM!

NOM!

How many Tinkerers can you count on this tree?? (Don't worry, Zachary, we won't let them overload it!)

How many Tinkerers can you count on this tree?? (Don't worry, Zachary, we won't let them overload it!)

Lunch time transitions into play time and free build time. The tinkerers have really taken to playing with the swings made from the last groups.

Modern day Renaissance painting.

Modern day Renaissance painting.

Teamwork for fun!

Teamwork for fun!

Double fun!

Double fun!

Our junior photographers took most of these photos today, and most are focused on the fun they had with each other, rather than the projects, so I'll fill in the details here:


The Wind Power team made several renovations to the existing windmill in preparation for their base addition. Originally they had planned on jacking up the existing structure but found that if they removed some non-essential wood they could make it light enough to lie it down, attach the two base pieces they made, and do a windmill raising tomorrow.

The Water Power team put all our 2-foot lumber to use to make three long bridges that they can use to carry themselves and their project pieces across the creek. They also started the wheels for their water wheel.

The Gravity Power team fixed up their wheel box and started on a jig for making wheels for their cart. 

Now on to more really fantastic photos in no particular order:

Our fantastic volunteer, Miriam from Monterrey, Mexico is leaving us tomorrow. Everyone agrees she should quit her job in Mexico and stay here forever. Te amamos, Miriam!!!

Our fantastic volunteer, Miriam from Monterrey, Mexico is leaving us tomorrow. Everyone agrees she should quit her job in Mexico and stay here forever. Te amamos, Miriam!!!

Camp Captain Kaitlyn is being theatrical.

Camp Captain Kaitlyn is being theatrical.

If you see a piece of fruit...

If you see a piece of fruit...

HELLO.

HELLO.

Laila is a hula hooping champion.

Laila is a hula hooping champion.

Your daily cow.

Your daily cow.

Our regularly scheduled blog will continue tomorrow. Until then, yippy-ki-yay, mothers and fathers!

 

 

 

 

 

Session E - Day 2 - Let's Get Working!

Tinkering School Staff4 Comments

It's Monday! Everyone has settled in, made new friends, learned approximately ten billion card games, and most of all, everyone is pumped to learn what the theme is! 

The theme this week is harnessing energy! We've made lots of windmills, water wheels, cars; but we've never harnessed the energy created by those and used it for something else. So we have a very interesting two weeks ahead of us. 

We started the day with a talk from Gever on "what exactly is WORK?" We ended up deciding that work is "effort with a purpose." Of course a dramatic dumping of 1/2" nuts was needed to show how energy is transferred! 

Then we split up into teams to explore different types of energy; water, wind, and potential! Here, the wind energy team discusses different types of sails and shafts. 

The water team goes on an adventure to the creek. They looked out for water that was deep, flowing, and spacious. They looked out for these conditions because they decided that those would be the optimal conditions for a water wheel. 

Madelyn finishes taping up the joints for her potential energy driven car! The team created lots of cars driven by weights and pulleys using our tinkering catalyst kits and tinker toys. 

The wind team (pictured here: Onion, Yoel, Michaela) makes prototypes using construction paper and the catalyst kits!

And then test it! Braden hooks up the turbine to a motor to power an LED.

Noodle break! The pool noodles are quickly discovered and quickly turned into a communal game. We wonder how the energy used here could be captured...

After our exploration session, we met up at the top of the hill (with plenty of snacks) and discussed what we discovered and what plans we had going forward. The water group was especially interested in doing a water hammer, and the wind group discussed the different types of shafts, vertical and horizontal. 

It's lunch time! The perfect time to explore the nature in the forest next to the build site, and make new friends (with matchy outfits!)

We then split into teams yet again, and started our design process! The water-power team decided to do on-site designing, and ended up with exact measurements and a solid plan.

The potential energy team worked with precision and accuracy on their prototype!

The night ended with eadventuring to the creek, the park, and conversations in the yurts! We had a wonderfully relaxed Monday due to the length of our session, and our high amounts of exploration allowed for a high amount of bonding between our campers. We're so excited for the weeks ahead, and can't wait to see where these kids take us! 

Session E - Day 1 - New Friends, New Skills

Tinkering School Staff5 Comments

It's another week at Tinkering School! We've got new faces, new personalities, and (most importantly) a refreshed staff who were pumped to meet everyone and get down to business with an opening circle discussion on what Tinkering School is, and how to safely tinker. 

Upon everyone arriving, we set out some wheels, batteries, motors, and markers so that everyone could start to get to know each other and make some good connections (with motors and with people I mean).

Morgan tinkers with ball bearings, and Laila attaches battery wires to a wooden chassis piece.

Morgan tinkers with ball bearings, and Laila attaches battery wires to a wooden chassis piece.

We then shifted into opening circle where we discussed the three rules of Tinkering School, and the unspoken 6th rule (you're not allowed to know unless you come to camp).

Kaitlyn accurately explains a rule one: don't hurt yourself or anyone else!

Kaitlyn accurately explains a rule one: don't hurt yourself or anyone else!

Gever shows a simple way to resolve almost all small conflicts: ro-sham-bo!

Gever shows a simple way to resolve almost all small conflicts: ro-sham-bo!

After circle, we walked up the hill to the build site for tool training! Everyone was trained on the three main tools we use here at Tinkering School, drills, clamps, and chop saw. Aside from just the tools, we also had an amenities tour of the build area. Campers were split up into four groups and rotated out of each training so that everyone learned all the same things.

Above is a photo of our shop! Totally decked out with various saws, adhesives, cords, drills, and fasteners, this is the place where extravagant ideas are created out of extravagant materials. But before any of that can happen, we have to learn how to use the tools to do so.

Clamp training starts with a familiarization of tools and materials to prepare for Liora's radical clamp challenge.

Clamp training starts with a familiarization of tools and materials to prepare for Liora's radical clamp challenge.

One of our collaborators, Liora, gave Johnny, Isabella, Eisen, and Matthew a clamp challenge to clamp together a bench that she could sit on, without breaking. This challenge was very much accepted.

Even though they may have not gotten it on the first try!

Meanwhile, Frannie trained some other campers on our drills. 

Frannie asks Johnny, Matthew, Eisen, and Isabella to repeat her actions after she drills a hole and switches bits to drive in a screw.

Frannie asks Johnny, Matthew, Eisen, and Isabella to repeat her actions after she drills a hole and switches bits to drive in a screw.

Over in chop saw central, Kaitlyn and Onion practice chopping wood and keeping fingers out of the blood bubble!

And finally, Daniel showed his groups around the build site so that everyone knew where important things like the bathroom, water fountain, and fresh blackberries were.

Daniel also explained to Max why screws on the ground, are called dead baby goats.

Max was confused.

Finally, after a long day of meeting new folks and learning to use tools, we ran down the hill for a yummy lasagna dinner, cooked by our undercover chef, Agent P. And finally, after some pool noodle jousting, we settled in for hot cocoa (with extra marshmallows). 

With tinkerer bed time approaching, there is just one question left. What are we going to be doing for the next two weeks...

Session D - Day 6 - A Bittersweet End Before The Lava Comes

Tinkering School Staff1 Comment

It's Friday and our week has sadly come to an end. That doesn't mean that there will be a slow in work however... these campers worked harder than they had all week! 

We reached a level of success with all of our projects, and an air (and many whispers) of pride were surrounding the build site. This was a great week with some great campers and we're sad to see them go. 

Reed begins the day by making sure the ratchet straps are super duper extra tight! 

Milo watches the team plan, making sure they're all on the same page. 

Arielle makes sure that the railing for the ramp is taught (do you see the drawing by a camper?)

Zubin gets a helping hand in clamping down his plywood for the circular saw.

Amberly clamps down a step before securing on even more supports! 

Gregory and Chase take a tire swing break! 

Dylan learns how to lash, and lashes his mountain together! 

He decided that it wasn't quite strong enough, so he chose to add flexible brackets to the joints to add extra support. (He also added one rockin' step!)

Reed takes Zubin and Jonah's bridge pieces to the forest for installation! 

And it's a bridge now! Hung high from the tree, it provides a safe passage across the lava. 

Andrew observes the happenings from his self-made chair on the Panda deck. 

Dylan takes a ride on the top of Gever's car! (A quintessential Tinkering School experience!) 

Raquel perfects her stilt work, ready to show her skills off on Saturday!

It's painting time! The Piki team insisted their ramp be rainbow, so rainbow it shall be. 

Reed takes a test walk on the bridge! 

Chase takes a board break on the plywood.

A small sample of the entire ramp... and platform! 

Dylan and Andrew work together to add steps to the mountain.

A shot of the forest, pre-clean up, post bridge installation. 

We end the night with a tradition bonfire, with roasting marshmallows, and sawdust thrown into it.

We also had a circle appreciating how others have helped us, to give everyone a chance to see how much the project truly depended on them, and how they in the end, did make a difference, which can be hard to see when you're young. 

We had a wonderful week escaping the lava, and now we'll just have to see if their structures survive (I've got a good feeling they will). The week is over, but the great memories made this week will continue on and we hope to see these faces back again! 

Session D - Day 5 - Back to Work and We're Almost Done!

Tinkering School Staff3 Comments

It's Thursday and it's time to get back to work after a relaxing beach day. Our projects are nearing the "close to done" stage and the air is buzzing with excitement.

The early birds played with the projector, taking turns drawing masterpieces with dry erase markers.

Nicky makes his way down the spiral staircase.

Andrew hides from the camera using the proper tools available to him (while building an awesome platform!)

Tightening ratchet straps takes a lot of effort, and Henry definitley figured that out today. 

Stilt break! Milo took a fall but got back up ready to try again! 

Reed climbs the almost finished spiral staircase. 

Gregory stops and poses for the camera while securing the foot holds to Piki's ramp. 

Rohan learns a new tool! He uses the jigsaw to cut a precise angle for the Panda team. 

Chase works on his skateboard, and uses bolts and washers to lift his screws up since we didn't have the right length. Very innovative! 

Hot knife! This is a favorite tool among many of the campers this week. 

The ramp is up! Divya takes a first climb. 

Miya adds supports to her team's steps to make sure they can hold the weight of any tinkerer. 

Raquel made stilt shoes! 

Raquel falls off said stilt shoes. She fixed them though! She realized that she needed to more firmly attatch them around the ankle, and tie them into her shoes. 

Andrew takes a tire(d) swing break. 

Zubin and Jonah (not pictured) have been working all day on their bridge pieces! They got them all done through some serious dedication. 

Henry adds the finishing touch on the ramp, multi-colored paracord railings! 

Milo and Amberly work to finish the steps before dinner is here! 

This day ended wonderfully, with excitement for tomorrow's "last-push" adrenaline rush! It's been an amazing week so far, and these projects are going to be great. 

Portrait of a Tinkerer: Miya, with a healthy snack!

Session D - Day 4 - Tidepools, Fishes, and Lots of Sunscreen

Tinkering School Staff2 Comments

It's Wednesday! And that means it's beach day! This beach day was certainly a well-needed rest for the collaborators (we always forget what early-risers these kids are) and a great adventure for the tinkerers! 

We started the day early, heading out to the beach where a group immediately climbed a rock face, determined on finding a cave. Once the whole group arrived, Daniel took a group to the crab and sea life-filled tide pools!

Reed caught a crab! He was extremelyu proud of this, and spent a good portion of his morning trying to catch a perfect crab. Determination is as much of a virtue as patience..

Kelp was found, and the kelp was soon discovered to (a) have those little bubbles filled with air (which are "super duper super cool!") and (b) be extremely fun to use as whips due to the long skinny tail! One even found its way back to camp with us and sits outside of the yurt as a proud memory of the day. 

Reed and Dylan explore a tide pool together.

The extra deep spot in the tide pool was *very* cold but a great spot for finding crabs and "weird squishy ocean things!"

Gregory relaxes among the kelp.

Chase and Rohan inspect a fish that was caught by a fellow beach-goer! 

Arielle plays in the sand, enjoying the rare sunny beach day. 

Rohan makes a mini terrarium to take to the tide pools. 

We caught a fish! It washed up on shore (still alive) and took this time to observe it and notice how calm it was. Some tinkerers theorized that it was a defense tactic. (Fish was put back in water) 

Upon returning to camp, Amberley and Alex sold their large amounts of sea glass at the price of 10 for free! (Except for their favorite few of course)

Some tinkerers discovered the pool noodles. Here, Arielle and Kieran have a friendly fight. 

We ended the night with a Wednesday night tradition: a movie! This week we chose The Princess Bride and sipped on fresh hot cocoa and enjoyed a calm night. 

Portrait of a tinkerer: Dylan, between a soft rock wall and... another soft rock wall?

Session D - Day 3 - Making Progress and Petting Animals!

Tinkering School Staff3 Comments

It's Tuesday and we're nearly halfway through! Today was a day focused on pushing projects ahead, but also keeping self care in mind. 

All of our teams got lots of work done, both on add-ons to their pre-existing structures, or starting new ones! 

Raquel and Alex spend a few moments in the swing, taking a much needed break in the chilly morning. 

Banana slug!!!

Henry puts extra effort into tightening the spiral staircase lashing for a photo.

Chase learns a new tool, the Jigsaw for his free build project! 

Zubin makes a clean cut on the chopsaw to create another step on Kablooi's spiral staircase!

Reed discovered that the lashing on the spiral staircase wasn't strong enough to hold a human, so he, Zubin, and Jonah set off on a mission to re-tighten it all with ratchet straps! They wanted to use camo, but they decided orange was more uniform. 

Skateboards were made, and fallen off of, with lots of glee!

When we build, we must equally play. We started our evening with visiting the animals with the lovely Courtney from Elkus! 

A donkey, being fed a pancake. A proper American animal. 

Our evening continued with play time in the Elkus garden. "Who am I after?" as exclaimed by Miya (not pictured), while waiting for a swing.

_DSC7614.JPG

"I'm making hay angels!" -Milo, pictured attempting a front flip.

We ended our evening with knife training! 

Rules below:

1. Cut Away From Yourself 

2. Blood Bubble

3. Three Points of Contact

4. Lock Your Knife

5. Keep Your Knife Sharp

Portrait of a Tinkerer: Dylan, properly safety-fied!

Session D - Day 2 - The Floor is Lava!

Tinkering School Staff3 Comments

It's our first full day of the session and all of us here are pumped! After a delicious breakfast, we find out our week's theme, The Floor is Lava!

So here's how it goes; on Friday, a volcano will explode all over our build site! Now this is a nice volcano, so it will respect stilts and only go as far as the water tower, but everything we build must be off the ground and connect to the pre-made tree platform at the end of the wooded area. 

However, before we can build, we've got to lay out our group agreements. We split first into our build teams, Piki, Nooi, Kablooi, and Panda, and we got to work brainstorming.

Piki brainstorms before doodling some design ideas for their project.

We head up the hill and the real fun starts! Here, Reed thinks about how he could make a winding rope ladder to bring campers up the tree. 

One of our projects is going to be a ramp connecting the non-lava filled land to the start of our journey to the treehouse (of course, it has to be rainbow!)

Raquel measures from the top of the treehouse so that her team (Kablooi) can build their structure to the right height.

Piki also measures (but lengthwise!)

Designs have been done, so now we get to chop sawing. Rohan makes a great first cut of the day!

And here, Alex makes her first cut of the day!

Nicky climbs a tree instead, to show Nooi how high he thinks they should build...

...build their spiral sgtaircase! And some track later down the road...

Panda works hard to get their swing, the first part of their project, done today!

Never forget the importance of checking your screw lengths, this saved a group some time today when the group checked before drilling a hole! 

Piki ran into a problem with their ramp; while their pieces were nicely aligned to be level and near-perfect, the ground did not want to cooperate! So they got to rescrewing and realigning the pieces to make a stable structure.

Nooi makes a jig to produce straight, well made track every time.

Panda's swing is a success! They spend the last few minutes of the day having fun on their accomplishment!

Portrait of a Tinkerer: Divya

It was a very successful Monday! Our projects are on a roll, and the fun and energy in this group seems to be never-ending!

Session D - Day 1 - Little Hands and Big Ideas

Tinkering School Staff1 Comment

          It's a new week! All of us here at Tinkering School are so excited! We've got an awesome project set up for these tinkerers, but... you'll have to wait till tomorrow to find out what it is!

          Sunday afternoons mean making new friends, learning the lay of the land, tool training, and a communication game after dinner! 

          Our tinkerers couldn't wait to get to their yurts (Waterbenders, Earthbenders, and Airbenders!) and set up for a fun week of camp! After all, the less time you spend on set up, the more time you have to build! 

Nicky just checked in and he's ready to build already!

          So he does! He and Milo, some of the first to arrive, start working on a boat! They were especially concerned about making it watertight, so they decided to have a cardboard layer, then a pleather one, then finally a whole lot of tape!

          It works! It floats away for a second, but the tinkerers figure out a way to get it back from across the deep creek... a good ol' stick!

          Reed enjoys a slice of watermelon, a positive way to start out his camp experience! It's his first year and he's super excited! 

          Let's train! Henry experiments with different drill bits, and the uses for them all! (This one is great if you're putting a bolt in something, as he told me.)

          X marks the spot! And as Milo later found out, this is in fact not the strongest way to clamp an x, "you need supports of some sort so it doesn't move!"

          During a lovely dinner of lasagna, the tinkerers answered questions about themselves before a communication exercise! 

          Its the Alien Game! Our own dear collaborator, Kevin, is actually... an alien!!! And one who doesn't speak any english. So our tinkerers must figure out a way to communicate various tasks to her (bring a collaborator a pink marker, take a shoe from milo, etc.) without using any words of any kind! 

          Divya and her group went and tried their strategy on Kevin. It went great! Their goal was to get her to take Milo's shoe. They got this across to the alien by a lot of gesturing and recreating what they wanted her to do with their own group members!

A Portrait of a Tinkerer: Arielle, with her goal for the Alien Game

          This was a successful day of building communication skills and learning how to operate new tools safely and efficiently! The campers are absolutely dying to know their project for the week, so we're off to bed to make the night go by fast!

Session C Day 6 - One Last Push!

Tinkering School StaffComment

Friday is always a tricky day -- figuring out what is left to do, doing it, and leaving enough time to test it and improve, if possible. We decide to work all until 4:00 PM to allow time for play testing our escape rooms.

Piki's Evil Child escape room had some hiccups earlier in the week and had to re-design a few of the puzzles.

Piki's last planning/design session, with Sarah and Lucy.

Piki's last planning/design session, with Sarah and Lucy.

The roof was a tricky situation! How to get it up there? The yelled for extra hands, but not everyone was tall enough to help...

ALL HANDS ON DECK!! Piki's roof is going up!

ALL HANDS ON DECK!! Piki's roof is going up!

Aaaaand SUCCESS!!

Aaaaand SUCCESS!!

Liora secures the roof on.

Liora secures the roof on.

The blue tarp gives the room an extra creepy feeling. Sophia uses tape to cover up Comrades Dangerous, much to the chagrin of the photographer.

The blue tarp gives the room an extra creepy feeling. Sophia uses tape to cover up Comrades Dangerous, much to the chagrin of the photographer.

Meanwhile, Nooi works on the finishing touches of their triple-hallway puzzle. 

Reilly and Oliver get ready to attach Nooi's middle door. This door did not want to behave.

Reilly and Oliver get ready to attach Nooi's middle door. This door did not want to behave.

Merritt hangs a chandelier.

Merritt hangs a chandelier.

Lauren secures walls from above.

Lauren secures walls from above.

Nooi uses many seemingly unrelated miscellaneous props.

Nooi uses many seemingly unrelated miscellaneous props.

Of course, it's not all work work work.

Daniel attacks from afar with his tape measurer! Rawr!

Daniel attacks from afar with his tape measurer! Rawr!

Charlie and Dason cheese it up.

Charlie and Dason cheese it up.

Over at Kablooi, the Russian spaceship plot unfolds.

Jack and Austin troubleshoot with Kablooi's combination lock.

Jack and Austin troubleshoot with Kablooi's combination lock.

With mechanical challenges mostly out of the way, some members begin decorating the outside of their spaceship.

With mechanical challenges mostly out of the way, some members begin decorating the outside of their spaceship.

Portrait of a tinkerer: Sasha, about to paint.

Portrait of a tinkerer: Sasha, about to paint.

Portrait of a Collaborator: Elijah hangs out in Kablooi's spaceship to escape the afternoon heat for a moment.

Portrait of a Collaborator: Elijah hangs out in Kablooi's spaceship to escape the afternoon heat for a moment.

Our dear Charlie was picked up early so they could go on a trip with their family. We'll miss you!

We miss you already!

We miss you already!

Next, it's time to test out our projects! With secrets closely kept all week, we were able to take a few members from each group into the different rooms and see if they were played the way we thought they would.

The Kablooi team tries out the Piki escape room. Piki members outside groaned as they skipped over the first couple steps and managed to escape without having to go through all the trouble.

The Kablooi team tries out the Piki escape room. Piki members outside groaned as they skipped over the first couple steps and managed to escape without having to go through all the trouble.

Merritt holds her head in disbelief for not noticing a key clue in Kablooi's Russian spaceship sooner.

Merritt holds her head in disbelief for not noticing a key clue in Kablooi's Russian spaceship sooner.

Liora works on one of the four rooms of Nooi's escape room. She needed a little extra help with the madness of a locker triple combination lock ("Go counter clockwise how many times?? What!")

Liora works on one of the four rooms of Nooi's escape room. She needed a little extra help with the madness of a locker triple combination lock ("Go counter clockwise how many times?? What!")

The teams regrouped after the first round to make adjustments to their rooms and get ready for a second round of play testing.

Who is Svetlana??

Who is Svetlana??

After the big Friday push, we make our way back down to make our own pizzas and then relax around our bonfire.

Lauren with the last of a burning milk jug.

Lauren with the last of a burning milk jug.

Everyone is still munching on s'mores, excited to show off their hard work tomorrow morning!

Until next time, keep rolling...

Session C Day 5 - Rushing Around

Tinkering School StaffComment

We greet the morning with a sleepy late start. As we start the trek up the hill, our morning haze melts away. 

We reach for our trusty tools and enthusiasm increases!

We reach for our trusty tools and enthusiasm increases!

Gretchen starts off the day strong with the chop saw.

Gretchen starts off the day strong with the chop saw.

Noa clamps down a piece of plywood to jigsaw off sides for a lock box.

Noa clamps down a piece of plywood to jigsaw off sides for a lock box.

Sasha supports the supports of the octagon with scrap 2x3s to make everything more level and stable.

Sasha supports the supports of the octagon with scrap 2x3s to make everything more level and stable.

*^multiple pictures^*

Kablooi has 4 awesome puzzles mounted to the interior of their octagon!

Oliver uses the circular saw to cut out a door for Nooi.

Oliver uses the circular saw to cut out a door for Nooi.

Lauren works on a labyrinth puzzle, which incorporates a metal space ball from Gever's game.

Lauren works on a labyrinth puzzle, which incorporates a metal space ball from Gever's game.

Sarah P. secures a plank atop 2 walls to prevent them from falling.

Sarah P. secures a plank atop 2 walls to prevent them from falling.

Ethan traps an innocent empty bottle of juice. I wonder what kind of a puzzle this is! They're keeping the juicy details to themselves for now!

Ethan traps an innocent empty bottle of juice. I wonder what kind of a puzzle this is! They're keeping the juicy details to themselves for now!

A skeletal Piki roof.

A skeletal Piki roof.

Piki gets their 3rd wall up!

Piki gets their 3rd wall up!

Aaaaand the 4th wall goes up, too!

Aaaaand the 4th wall goes up, too!

We see that a sister board installed after the designing session is blocking the 4th wall and leaving a gap, so we get a hand saw to remove the problem.

Sophia gets sawdust on her face from stableizing the wall downwind of the handsaw.

Sophia gets sawdust on her face from stableizing the wall downwind of the handsaw.

We're all pretty tired by the time reset rolls around. Tomorrow is the last building day and hopefully we'll get to try out all the escape rooms! One last big push ahead! Woo hoo!

Session C Day 4 - Ocean Escape

Tinkering School StaffComment

Beach day is an important break in the week which provides tinkerers the chance to give their brains a break from thinking about the project.

Austin flips for joy!

Austin flips for joy!

*^multiple pictures^* 

Jack and Austin waste no time walking and jumping around the sandstone.

Jack lends Austin a helping hand.

Jack lends Austin a helping hand.

We put down our towels and chillax in our own ways - drawing, reading, braiding hair and digging holes in the sand to name a few.

We put down our towels and chillax in our own ways - drawing, reading, braiding hair and digging holes in the sand to name a few.

Sarah P. gives Tyler a single cornrow. 

Sarah P. gives Tyler a single cornrow. 

Reilly volunteers to be burried in the sand by Ethan and Oliver.

Reilly volunteers to be burried in the sand by Ethan and Oliver.

Around lunchtime, we reapply sunscreen. The spray is cold! Ft. Sarah R., Sophia, and Charlie.

Around lunchtime, we reapply sunscreen. The spray is cold! Ft. Sarah R., Sophia, and Charlie.

*^Multiple pictures^*

Some of us try our hands at gymnastics. Ft. Kevin and Lauren.

A group plays Paranoia, flipping a flip flop to decide if the question of the round will be revealed.

A group plays Paranoia, flipping a flip flop to decide if the question of the round will be revealed.

On the way back to camp, some of us stop off at a fruit and vegetable stand! We saw a piece of fruit and we wanted it so we MUST eat it according to rule #2!

On the way back to camp, some of us stop off at a fruit and vegetable stand! We saw a piece of fruit and we wanted it so we MUST eat it according to rule #2!

Once we've all showered back at Elkus, it's movie time. We decide to watch Moonrise Kingdom. It looks interesting; I'm going to go watch it! Looking forward to getting back to building tomorrow!

Session C Day 3 - Trucking On

Tinkering School Staff1 Comment

Welcome back to Day 3! Jumping back in on Monday night...

Gever explains his game "Space Balls" - try to get the marble you roll to suck others into its gravity field!

Gever explains his game "Space Balls" - try to get the marble you roll to suck others into its gravity field!

Kablooi gets all 8 walls of their octagonal room up! There are four doors, but only some of them will open.

Kablooi gets all 8 walls of their octagonal room up! There are four doors, but only some of them will open.

Interesting locking mechinism...

Interesting locking mechinism...

Members of Kablooi celebrate their accomplishments with a life guard chair side project.

Members of Kablooi celebrate their accomplishments with a life guard chair side project.

Sarah R. from team Piki helps assemble the frame for a roof for the evil genius child's room.

Sarah R. from team Piki helps assemble the frame for a roof for the evil genius child's room.

We're running low on lumber, so we resort to taking apart the alpaca from week 1. Good bye, alpaca. Ft. Dason and Liora.

We're running low on lumber, so we resort to taking apart the alpaca from week 1. Good bye, alpaca. Ft. Dason and Liora.

Portrait of a tinkerer, Lauren cuts to the chase.

Portrait of a tinkerer, Lauren cuts to the chase.

Nooi puts their walls up for the lab of their mad scientist!

Nooi puts their walls up for the lab of their mad scientist!

Reilly cuts off a piece of plywood protruding from a lab wall.

Reilly cuts off a piece of plywood protruding from a lab wall.

On the way back to the conference center, Lucy, Sophia, Sarah R., and Kevin come across a bird in pain. They bring it with them in hopes of nursing it back to health. 

On the way back to the conference center, Lucy, Sophia, Sarah R., and Kevin come across a bird in pain. They bring it with them in hopes of nursing it back to health. 

The bird is (as of this post: present tense) named Francis. After assessing its problems (a broken wing??), we decided to take it to a wildlife rehabilitation center in San Mateo. Thanks, Peninsula Humane Society! Please take care of Francis!

After dinner, we receive knife training! We are all out finding sticks to make pointy.

That's all for now! Tuckered out tinkerers have beach day to look forward to tomorrow! 

Session C Day 2 - Ess Cahp Ayy... Es-cap-é... ESCAPE!

Tinkering School StaffComment

We rise as the sun penetrates the horizon. Our yurts light up as do our faces when we remember the project reveal is today!

Portrait of a collaborator, Daniel, thrilled about the project reveal.

Portrait of a collaborator, Daniel, thrilled about the project reveal.

Daniel's excitement manifests in this breakfast creation: Banana Palace.

Daniel's excitement manifests in this breakfast creation: Banana Palace.

Kaitlyn introduces the project theme: ESCAPE ROOMS!

Kaitlyn introduces the project theme: ESCAPE ROOMS!

Whaaaaaaat?! Escape rooms?! SO COOL! Not only will this project be the usual physical mechanical challenge; there will be an added element of removing oneself from the project in order to think from the perspective of the observer... we can't make it too hard, it can't take too long to solve, but it needs to be difficult to be mentally stimulating! So many variables! AND SECRETS TO UNFOLD!

We are split up into 3 teams, each to create their own escape room. Each team has a $30 budget for miscellaneous supplies, a time cap of 30 minutes under which their captives must escape, and the requirement of a theme/story to accompany their room!

Sayuri leads team Piki, consisting of Lucy, Sophia, Sarah R., Liora, Charlie, Dason, and Lee.

Kaitlyn leads team Nooi, consisting of Reilly, Lauren, Merritt, Sarah P., Ethan, and Oliver.

Miles leads team Kablooi, consisting of Millennium, Jack, Austin, Tyler, Noa, Sasha, and Gretchen.

Teams create group agreements, then get to planning their escape rooms!

Teams create group agreements, then get to planning their escape rooms!

Reilly wastes no time drafting up a plan for Nooi.

Reilly wastes no time drafting up a plan for Nooi.

Portrait of tinkerers Austin and Tyler, pensive.

Portrait of tinkerers Austin and Tyler, pensive.

Nooi takes their design meeting to the kitchen for extra protection against accidental eavesdroppers. Ft. Reilly, Merritt, and Sarah P.

Nooi takes their design meeting to the kitchen for extra protection against accidental eavesdroppers. Ft. Reilly, Merritt, and Sarah P.

We head to the built site and Tyler is ecstatic! 

We head to the built site and Tyler is ecstatic! 

Before we start building, we must sunscreen it up! Thank you for demonstrating, Charlie.

Before we start building, we must sunscreen it up! Thank you for demonstrating, Charlie.

Oliver is happy to get to work!

Oliver is happy to get to work!

(^Click to rotate through photos!^)

Nooi decides to meet in a tree. So much secrecy! What are they planning??

Meanwhile, Kablooi builds a shade structure. I wonder what they'll use it for... Ft. Millennium 

Meanwhile, Kablooi builds a shade structure. I wonder what they'll use it for... Ft. Millennium 

Portrait of a tinkerer, Dason, demonstrating that break time is important.

Portrait of a tinkerer, Dason, demonstrating that break time is important.

Lee sands a fidget spinner of his own making.

Lee sands a fidget spinner of his own making.

After lunch, Piki gets reorganized. 

After lunch, Piki gets reorganized. 

Piki reveals the story behind their escape room: the captive is a baby sitter. The baby sat is an evil genious child who traps them!

Piki raises a fresh frame.

Piki raises a fresh frame.

Sophia gets ready to screw another frame together.

Sophia gets ready to screw another frame together.

OH NO A DEAD BABY GOAT!!! Don't worry... she picked it up. P.S. dead baby goat is code for a screw on the ground. Don't worry. I mean... If a live baby goat ate the screw, it would be a dead baby goat, so worry an appropriate amount if you drop a screw, but Sophia picked it up right away, so it's all good!

OH NO A DEAD BABY GOAT!!! Don't worry... she picked it up. P.S. dead baby goat is code for a screw on the ground. Don't worry. I mean... If a live baby goat ate the screw, it would be a dead baby goat, so worry an appropriate amount if you drop a screw, but Sophia picked it up right away, so it's all good!

Millennium is suspicious of being asked to dish out any of Kablooi's plans.

Millennium is suspicious of being asked to dish out any of Kablooi's plans.

But Sasha lets us in on some secrets!

But Sasha lets us in on some secrets!

Incoming message from Kablooi: their escape room is space themed and octagonal!

Incoming message from Kablooi: their escape room is space themed and octagonal!

Noa and Jack get to work!

Noa and Jack get to work!

Gretchen stays hydrated.

Gretchen stays hydrated.

STAY HYDRATED OR ELSE! You'll become dehydrated! DEHYDRATION IS LAME! DON'T DO IT!

STAY HYDRATED OR ELSE! You'll become dehydrated! DEHYDRATION IS LAME! DON'T DO IT!

Noa draws on the ceiling.

Noa draws on the ceiling.

Sharpie on plywood makes for SPACE!

Sharpie on plywood makes for SPACE!

Meanwhile, Nooi returns to the tree.

Portrait of a tinkerer, Sarah P., collaborating in a tree.

Portrait of a tinkerer, Sarah P., collaborating in a tree.

Merritt contributes to important list making.

Merritt contributes to important list making.

On Nooi's to-buy list is 100 mini umbrellas. How could fit with their mad scientist theme?

Time to clean up already??

Time to clean up already??

We find some friendly berries on the walk back to the conference center.

We find some friendly berries on the walk back to the conference center.

As well as some beautiful, but not so friendly, hemlock.

As well as some beautiful, but not so friendly, hemlock.

Friendships are brewing.

Friendships are brewing.

The brown paper on the tables is fun to decorate!

The brown paper on the tables is fun to decorate!

We play card games. Ft. Liora.

We play card games. Ft. Liora.

Gever arrives with a very strange game he has created. More on that in the next post! We're going to go play now!

Session C Day 1 - Beginning of Greatness

Tinkering School StaffComment

Good morning seniors! Young seniors. Senior campers. This is the beginning of the first seniors week at Tinkering School Overnight Camp 2017. 

Campers arrive and are surrounded by unfamiliar faces. WHO ARE YOU? And will you be my friend?? Of course! We all will get to know each other better as we work together throughout the week and the prospect of new friendships is exhilarating.

We play with Tinkering Lab toys to get in the building/creative thinking mood.

We play with Tinkering Lab toys to get in the building/creative thinking mood.

Now that we're casually acquainted with the person standing next to us, it's time for an opening circle!

Caroline starts off the opening circle.

Caroline starts off the opening circle.

Introductions commence with some classic questions: What's your name? Spirit tool? Pronouns?

Next we learn the rules. Again, classic:

1) Don't hurt yourself or anyone else

2) If you see a piece of fruit *and you want it* you must eat it

3) Disagreements are solved with rouxshambeaux

and 6) . . . we don't talk about it...

MOVING RIGHT ALONG! 

Campers decide when they want to go to sleep and wake up. Starting and ending the day later is a popular choice.

Where you stand is indicative of when you vote for bed time to be.

Where you stand is indicative of when you vote for bed time to be.

I WANT TO BUILD ALREADY! SHOW ME THE TOOLS!

Yes, tool training is next.

Sayuri leads the the scenic walk up to the build site, and comes across 2 lovely cats.

Sayuri leads the the scenic walk up to the build site, and comes across 2 lovely cats.

In tool training, we learn how to use clamps, drills, and the chop saw, along with getting a tour of the area.

*^multiple pictures^*

Clamps temporarily hold things together.

*^multiple pictures^*

Screws hold things together more permanently. Ft. Sarah R.

A creative way to attach 4 2x3s... 

A creative way to attach 4 2x3s... 

*^multiple pictures^*

The chop saw cuts our wood so we can use clamps and drills to put it together! Ft. Austin, Sarah R., and Sasha.

*^multiple pictures^*

Last but certainly not least, we have the tour. Ft. Jack, Millennium, Reilly, and Daniel. Adjacent to our shop, there is a clearing with a couple projects from the previous sessions. The tire swing and tree house are popular. We learn what poison oak and black berries look like.

Now that we have a taste for what's in store, we head back to the conference center for dinner.

Gretchen and friends look forward to seeing what's for dinner.

Gretchen and friends look forward to seeing what's for dinner.

As dinner winds down, we hang out and play games.

Dason participates in Go Fish.

Dason participates in Go Fish.

Then we have a group challenge! 4 secret teams, isolated from each other must communicate with one another using nothing but emoticons! 

HAMBURGER, FOUR, WATER GUN, GUARDSMAN, QUESTION MARK!!

Isn't it obvious?!

Isn't it obvious?!

You get the picture.

Tomorrow the project is revealed and we get to start BUILDING! But no spoilers tonight. Catch you on the flippity flop. Peace sign, peace sign, waving hand.

Session B Day 6 - The Finish Line

Lauren Byunn-Rieder1 Comment

Friday. The last day of building is upon us. Armed with determination, we get up, eat breakfast, and head up the hill. Hayden gets started, creating a fence to keep his circular saw cut straight. 

Portrait of the Hands of Two Tinkerers: Lilly and Niyati mark out a line to cut.

Up in the treehouse, Akshay works on a pulley system to carry supplies.

Surrounding the windmill is a flurry of activity as Piki creates the windmill blades.

Lee fastens a cloth to the frame of the windmill blade using bailing wire, a delicate operation requiring a lot of focus.

SWING BREAK! 

Lauren lightens the mood with a few funny faces.

Kablooi's treehouse has a lower platform, but it needs a railing. Akshay sits on "the patio" and thinks about how to make it.

Nooi's boat is pretty cool on the ground, but... how much cooler would it be if it was off the ground? In order to get it in the air, Nooi moves their boat next to the treehouse.

Lilly and Niyati stand guard over their boat, holding it steady on the uneven ground.

To get the boat into the tree, we first lift it onto a wheelbarrow to hold it up, then tie it into the tree. Sean and Aman lift up the boat.

Liv stands on the patio of the Kablooi treehouse, watching Nooi hoist their boat into the air.

Panda covers their treehouse in a patchwork plywood floor. 

Katherine peeks over the edge. 

Sean explores the higher parts of Kablooi's tree, getting a great vantage point over the whole build site.

The windmill is raised! Caroline and Athena clamp supports to hold up the rotating windmill.

After rigorous safety testing, the raised boat is deemed safe to use as a swing. (Click to cycle through photos)

With the windmill spinning, the boat swinging, and the treehouses stable and sat upon, we leave the build site and head down for dinner. Our last glance back (until tomorrow):

After dinner and a few card games, we walk halfway back up the hill for another Tinkering School tradition: Friday night bonfire. After going over fire safety rules, we sit and chat around the fire.

Katherine, Gwen, and Lauren tell funny stories.

Liam examines his marshmallows, waiting for space around the fire to open up so he can toast them.

Nisa tries her first s'more! (vegan marshmallow)

Her reaction: "mmm, yum!"

After everyone has roasted s'mores to their hearts' content, we move on to a special surprise. Because milk jugs are made of HDPE, a special plastic made of purely carbon and hydrogen, it burns clean without any smelly or dangerous fumes. It's extra cool because of the alien-esque zipping/hissing sound along with the trail of fire it makes as it melts.

The next cool trick is sawdust. With all the cuts we've made on the chopsaw this week, we've accumulated a lot of it. As it's made of wood, sawdust burns quickly in puffs of flame when we throw it in the fire. (Click to cycle through photos)

Before we put out the fire, we go around and say three good memories or nice things about everyone. With spirits raised, we continue the kind comments even after the fire is out. Coupled with the pride of having completed our projects, we go to bed satisfied that tomorrow we get to show everyone what we've made!

Session B Day 5 - Higher and Higher

Lauren Byunn-Rieder1 Comment

Now that we're refreshed after beach day, it's back to build we go! Lee gets ready by putting on sunscreen, the face paint of (happy, non-sunburnt) champions.

Creating treehouse platforms is hard when everything you're working on is above your head. Nisa and Gever bring a ladder.

A television crew from The Today Show visits camp, wanting to learn more about tinkering and how camp works. It's very exciting! The finished segment is set to air on July 20th.

Kablooi's highest tree platform needs a floor, so Akshay uses a circular saw to cut a piece of plywood.

The high platform quickly finds a use as up-tree storage for tools, screws, and gloves.

Spotted: a tinkerer in the wild!

Elizabeth helps Nisa add a back to her swivel-rocking chair.

Tinkering is hard work! Draw eats a quick snack.

Meanwhile, Piki's windmill is coming along nicely. They scaffold a roof deck, a chill area which fits the whole team.

The roof deck doubles as a high vantage point. Caroline and Liam scan the horizon, looking for a rescue boat.

Martha swings on the tire swing.

Portrait of the Hands of a Tinkerer: Katherine drives a screw into a support beam for her team's tree platform.

Lilly, Aman, and Niyati set up a cut for the outside of their boat.

But the windmill's roof deck is just a scaffold and doesn't have a complete floor. Caroline teaches Liam how to use a circular saw to cut a piece of plywood for a floor.

Meanwhile, Martha and Miles think about how to engineer the blades of the windmill. Ooh, dimensioned diagrams!

After we come back down the hill and eat dinner, we play card games (a Tinkering School tradition). BS is a favorite, along with Mao and a few others.

We also find foam, enough to make LARP-style soft weapons. Draw wraps her tube with tape.

The end result? ATTACK! Hayden is the reigning champion.

Play fighting is exhausting, so we soon head to bed. Many of us learned how to use a new tool, and we were able to bring to life the awesome ideas we had yesterday. We got a lot done today and can't wait to continue all of our exciting tinkering tomorrow!

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