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2016 Session D - Juniors

Session D: Day 7 - The Cars Will Roll

2016 Session D - JuniorsSerena G-H2 Comments

It's our final morning together, but there's still more to do.

We really strive to have a closing appreciation circle after we've spent a week together but before the tinkerers leave - it gives us a chance to acknowledge one another and recognize how, specifically, others have helped make our camp experience better. Normally, we do it around the campfire on Friday, but we didn't quite have time last night. So we do it this morning, before breakfast. Each tinkerer has some lovely thoughts to share. 

By the time we've finished our circle, it's well past 9:00, and we still haven't eaten breakfast. We head in for pancakes and eggs. 

Then it's time to mount the carts onto the wheel bases. Reed helps as Axel climbs under the track to put the attachment screws in. 

Juan and Wolf hang out together in the Piki cart. 

Collaborator Serena helps Gandalf attach the swinging bench in the Kablooi cart.  

The wheelbases are fun to ride on, even before the cars are mounted. Potter and Benjamin take one for a spin. 

They're doing it! The Nooi propulsion system, of which Gever was initially skeptical, is working. Adam rows his teammates Delia and Liv along. Nik's awfully proud - after that rap on Thursday (if you haven't seen it, check out the Day 5 blog), he was determined to get this system up and running. 

Slowly but surely, we get all of the cars up on the tracks and mounted. 

The parents have all gathered up by Terminus Station. It's 10:20am now, and it looks like everything's ready to roll. Serena gets up on the platform, and works to reproduce the Gever-style Saturday morning talk. We're so proud of our campers achievements this week.

Then we load up the train for a ceremonial ride down to Tinker City. With Liv taking the oar on her teams propulsion system, the first cart is rolling. 

The rest follow behind. 

Four of the five carts make it safely to Midway! We have a train!

Unfortunately, the Kablooi cart is having trouble with the wheelbase, and the train car derails. A special team jumps in to make the necessary repairs. 

The Sqiki car can fit two passengers and a canine pal. Benjamin's dog enjoys his chance to ride in a kid-built train. 

One by one, the carts roll into Tinker City. 

The valiant efforts of the repair crew succeed in getting the Kablooi cart running again. 

To cheers and applause, it joins its cohort in Tinker City. 

After the inaugural journey of the Tinker Express, it's time for a group photo. 

And ultimately, it's time to say goodbye. Reed signs out. 

Despite some bumps, we got through it. Each train car did ultimately roll. We finished strong, working until the very last minute to get everything we wanted to accomplish done. Together, we found a way.  

Session D: Day 6 - (Train) Cars, Colors and Campfires

2016 Session D - JuniorsSerena G-H1 Comment

It's our final full day together - we've done a lot this week. Our train cars are beginning to look a lot like cars, and today it's time to put the finishing touches on them.

If you've been following along, then you already know - last night, the test of the wheels and wheelbase kits we've spent most of the week assembling. So today's also about finding a "Plan B" that will ensure that we can get the cars the kids have worked hard on to role on Saturday morning. 

But we set all of that a side for a moment, and take an early morning trip to visit the animals. 

We enjoy meeting the goats ... 

And hanging out with the chickens. 

And as a bonus, a stop at the playground to enjoy the tire swings.

Then it's back to the workspace to tinker with our projects. Gever defines tinkering as the time between when the project is "done" and when the project is working.

The Sqiki cart door doesn't quite close. Sadie and Jaya are tinkering - they try sandpaper, then a file, and ultimately a handsaw as they struggle to make it work. With determination and teamwork, they get there. 

Build time gets serious once the chop saw starts whirring. Wolf wields it like an expert now. 

Portrait of a Tinkerer: Juan, confident in his plan, his team, and his project.

Aviguel cuts a piece of luan for the roof of her team's cart. The super thin, flexible wood is somewhat finicky to cut. 

Where there's a slope and a cart, play must develop. The kids have developed  a sort of bobsled style ride for themselves. 

From the passenger seat, it's pretty thrilling. 

Watermelon is making a swing-seat for the Kablooi cart, because why have a bench where there could be a swing? With Sylvia's help, she braided paracord to ensure she'll have a strong enough rope to hold the swing up.

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Sadie works on building a flag for team Piki. 

Liv takes a go at the cart. 

Junior Collaborator Zack helps attach fabric to the top of the Sqiki Cart. 

Jaya and Sadie try out the new addition. Everything's better under a sparkling roof. 

Portrait of a Tinkerer: Robbie looks fierce. 

Portrait of a Tinkerer: Delia, thrilled. 

The saga of the wheelbases continues. The Junior Collaborators have been working all morning to churn out standard wheelbase kits, now adapted for the skateboard wheels, which we now plan to use. But it turns out we've been assuming that the skateboard wheels take 3/8" bolts, and they really use 5/16" bolts. So now we have the wrong hardware, and the wrong size holes in all our parts, and so it's back to square one.  All these lovely sets must be redone. 

The Junior Collaborators built a lift to transfer various objects from the conference center balcony to the shop. They test it with some bottles of paint. 

As carts trend towards mechanical completion, the tinkerers decide the carts can't truly be complete without decoration. Sylvia starts to paint the Kablooi cart pink. 

Everything is better in color, but nothing quite trumps spray paint. Collaborator Dee and Team Piki decide that's exactly what their cart needs.

Avigael's got it down. 

Portrait of a Collaborator: Dee has acquired some face paint. 

Caroline tinkers with the train-wheel base we assembled last night, hoping she can get it to work. 

Pink and blue is the color scheme of choice this week for Team Kablooi. 

Deja-vu? The wheelbase team has assembled another set, this time with the right holes. Junior Collaborator Elizabeth has done something like 80 drill press holes so far today alone. 

Team Nooi's propulsion plan relies on a tall pole attached to their cart. Nik uses his height to help get the pole into its stand. 

Wheelbase assembly has started. 

Caroline tests out the Nooi swing. Sylvia and Watermelon are very proud of their creation, and rightly so. 

Jaya labels the Sqiki cart. Sqiki is our newest team name, so it's an honor to write it on a completed project for the first time. 

Portrait of Two Tinkerer's Hands: Painted fingers and a yellow jacket. 

Liv and Nik work together to finish the mount for the pole. 

Amelia gets into the painting spirit. 

Beauty shot of the Sqiki Cart. 

The cars have really come together. Dee and Juan mount the Piki sign. 

"You shall not pass," says Gandalf. Kablooi's painting evolved from paintbrushes to Jackson Pollock style splattering to finger-painting. 

After almost three days of work (3 hours with this new design), our wheelbases are finally coming together. 

Portrait of a Tinkerer: Reed 

The Sqiki cart is really a fortune-telling booth. Elizabeth reads Lauren's palm. 

As per tradition, Friday night is fire night. our fire tonight is quite a character. 

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So that means it's time to craft the perfect s'mores stick. Axel, Juan and Gandalf use their newly developed whittling prowess. 

Potter has the perfect stick. 

And then there is fire. 

And as it gets darker, we take a moment to pause and appreciate its beauty. 

Marshmallows roasting on an open fire - there's nothing quite like it. 

And it's good to be together. 

It's a fitting ending to a successful week. The carts are finished, and the plan is to mount them to the wheelbases tomorrow. We're proud of what we've accomplished, and glad to be together. Today, we've completed cars, painted them in beautiful colors, and lit a campfire. It's good to be at Tinkering School.  

Session D: Day 5 - Finding Funky Flow

2016 Session D - JuniorsCaroline MartinComment

It's Thursday morning. After beach day yesterday, we're ready to get back to our train cars. The group gathers at the build site, to sunscreen up and prepare for the day. 

Portrait of a Junior Collaborator: Zack, observant. 

Ethan, Collaborator Caroline, and Robbie make a plan for the bike propulsion system. They're hoping to develop a bike-based cord collector which will reel in a line and pull the train along. They're encountering trickier problems than they anticipated. 

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Team Sqiki has decided to add a fold-up table to their train car, for all their dining needs on the journey from Terminus Station to the City. 

Team Nooi is determined to get their propulsion system up and working. They're installing the infrastructure on the track that they need to make it happen. They check in and make a plan before getting to work. 

Liv contemplates the future of her cart. 

Portrait of a Tinkerer: Amelia 

Potter and Axel take the old cart for a (very slow) joy ride.

Sadie and Sylvia take a break to beautify the track. 

Through the Portal: Lauren and Serena work on building frame pieces for the train car wheels. 

As the morning picks up, we settle into our groove. The atmosphere down here is playful. Nik photobombs. 

The goofy faces are contagious - Potter catches the bug. 

J-Wolf shows his style. 

But it's no real contest - not with Fox here. She's got the goofy face honed. 

Even Collaborator Caroline catches on. 

The fun with photos continues - Wolf takes a high-res selfie. 

Daniel shows the kids how to turn their handwriting into a computer font. It's fascinating to see your own handwriting appear on screen as you type. 

After lunch, it's time for a Tinkering School tradition - knife training. Each tinkerer will receive their very own pocket knife, as long as they follow the rules and use it safely. 

Collaborator Caroline goes over the knife safety rules, and then it's time for the campers to demonstrate their knowledge - who wants to go first? 

Let the whittling begin! Juan proves his knife prowess. 

Axel misses a step in the process for knife use. Caroline takes the knife back - he'll get to try again once everyone else gets a go. He does, eventually, earn his knife. 

J-Wolf checks his blood bubble - the area surrounding him the size of his extended arm to the tip of his knife blade. This is the area whittlers are most likely to slip and cut someone else, so it must be treated with utmost respect. 

Now that they have their knives, the tinkerers set off in search of sticks they can make pointy. 

Benjamin enjoys a moment of relaxation in the Sky Bench. 

Avigael tries out the new bench she's installed in the Piki cart. It's comfy!

What's up, J-Wolf? It's fun to interact with the photographer (in this case, photo cred to Wolf).  

Junior Collaborator Lauren, after six summers of Tinkering School, know the tools of her trade - she carries a sharpie and knife in her back pocket. Here she cuts the slots we need to tighten the PVC-pipe and metal axle assemble into place. She's getting good at making these grooves. 

Amelia learns to use the circular saw in order to cut a part for her team's cart. 

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"And though she be but little, she is fierce" reads Jaya's T-shirt. Throughout the week, Jaya has demonstrated ferocious commitment and shown us her fierce side. She's also shared her talent for and love of gymnastics with the group. 

Sadie and Rob work on the Kablooi cart walls. Rob's trying to work out what size piece to cut. 

Portrait of a Tinkerer: Rob gets in on the goofy. 

A group heads up the hill for an afternoon adventure to the playground and to visit the animals. Everyone's excited. 

Sylvia rides the pony. 

Tire swinging: the intense version. Robbie and Reed are masters. 

Compost pile, goat food edition. Code name: "goatpost". 

The tire swings are a huge hit. Avigael takes flight. 

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Then Fox just has to go, too. 

Then we visit with the animals - the goats, and then the bunnies. They're super soft and fuzzy. 

We captured some of our funniest/most epic non-tinkering moments of today on videotape. 

Sadie gives her interpretation of how cows make babies, with guest appearances from Fox, Avigael, and Gandalf. 

And especially for Gever - from Nik and Wolf, our two dope MC's . Together, they're unstoppable. So, here and now, from our studio to your home, folks, what may be the greatest diss track of the year.

If there's one thing to be said about Tinkering School, it's that those of us who have been doing it the longest have developed a persistence in how we approach problems, and a steady obstinance to being told that what we're attempting is impossible. For context: Nik and Team Nooi have designed a cart propulsion system this week which Gever was seriously skeptical about. 

Gever, you know we all love you anyway. 

Zach, Serena, Elizabeth, and Lauren, with help from Nik, have been working to produce specialized train-base parts throughout the day. With another big push after dinner and into the night, we manage to trap one cart base together. To our massive frustration, the custom train wheels Gever spent hours on just aren't self-centering the cart base quickly enough. We'll have to think of another plan.

Elizabeth and Zack, testing by headlamp light. 

The kids really hit their groove today - we're having fun while making progress. Most of the carts have gained benches, roofs, and/or doors, and the tinkerers have a knack for turning even tough work into play. We've received knives, petted goats, painted track, and enjoyed ourselves immensely. The evening ended with a showing of the movie The Sandlot. Tomorrow is Friday, our final full day together. 

Tonight's blog written by Serena, with Lauren co-piloting. 

Session D: Day 4 - Beach Cray

2016 Session D - JuniorsCaroline Martin2 Comments

Beach day at Tinkering School is a welcome retreat from our work. We look forward to an outing with our new friends in a new environment, where we can breathe in the ocean air (and breathe out the sawdust). 

In the morning, we make a full breakfast for our adventuring. Daniel has invested in a way to make our pancakes more interesting.

Right after breakfast, we pack up our lunches for the day. Collaborator Serena assists Rob with his master sandwich.

Benjamin has been crunching through Harry Potter (and the Half-Blood Prince) all week. Today is no different.

Unsurprisingly, Potter also gets in on the HP party while the rest of the crew finishes getting ready for the beach.

Meanwhile, a sunscreen party breaks out. Reed is diligent in his application.

Some campers are less enthused about sunscreen. This is as good as you're gonna get with Axel, it would seem.

We make our landing at Redondo Beach, a favorite of ours, and wonderfully close by.

Climbing down to the sand is an adventure in itself. Delia leads the way!

We're thrilled to discover yet another beach day with playful dogs. We have land dogs...

And we also spot sea dogs! (Better known to some as seals.)

Avigael and Amelia are thrilled to have some furry pals. Smiles abound from all the campers as they settle into their beach day.

And then there's the ocean! There are many approaches to water contact. Avigael plays tag with the waves.

Wolf wants to go butt-first, he explains.

Sylvia just lets the ocean come to her.

Beach day is also great for quieter moments. Collaborator Serena takes a minute to herself.

Fox finds her own way to relax. We're not sure we can follow her particular style, but she seems happy.

Collaborator Caroline spends some time serenading the campers with their new favorite Steven Universe songs on demand.

One of our favorite things to do at Redondo beach is to explore the plentiful tide pools. 

We start finding really interesting things and showing them off.

Sylvia spots some anemones in one of the pools.

What's that? Gandalf points out another little treasure he finds.

So many interesting things to see! Axel looks closely...

Maybe too closely?

Jaya and Watermelon have found their own pool to explore.

Collaborator Dee goes off on her own exploration as well. The view from this beach is incredible even on a foggier day.

Having fun, Liv?

Sadie has found some watery plant specimen.

Some of the campers decide to start their own Bucket O' Wonders. Watermelon shows off their small collection.

The tide pools are so amazing, Gandalf meditates on their awesomeness.

After some discussion of allowing nature to be natural, the tinkerers decide to release their specimen back into the wild.

We even find a cool hole to climb around in before we start heading back home. Pose!

We ride back, tired and happy, and warm from the sun (but not burnt, thankfully). After some showers, there is an expedition up to the animals for some more relaxing.

Dinner includes some logic puzzles, retelling of stories, and delicious mac & cheese. We finish off our vacation day with camp-favorite The Princess Bride, and some ice cream served with Collaborator Rhody's excellent hot fudge.

Tomorrow we go back to work to tackle the wheels for our carts and figure out our propulsions and braking. After such a wonderfully relaxing day, we're ready for it.

Blog written by Caroline, with Dee and Nik debating hip hop rivalries for company.

Session D: Day 3 - Plans and Progress

2016 Session D - JuniorsSerena G-H1 Comment

These kids are early risers - by 6:00 am a group of them are up and working their way to the Conference Center, where they find the camp Bananagrams. 

Morning activities consist of a hike out to the mailbox to drop off letters home, where we get a chance to meet some of the friendly horses that live in the pastures at the front of the ranch.

Those who choose not to hike help out with breakfast-making in the kitchen. Gandalf (Ethan) mans the pancake griddle. 

After breakfast, it's back to the drawing board to discuss our plans and decide on what challenges to tackle today. We gather in our project groups to do so. 

Then it's back to the shop! Potter places the handsaw back in its space on our beautiful tool wall. 

The tinkerers are eager to get back to building, and to put their plans into action. A queue for the chop saw rapidly develops. Liv prepares for her turn by putting on her safety goggles. 

Gandalf cuts pieces for the sides of Kablooi's cart. 

Portrait of a Tinkerer: Axel considers.

Team Sqiki begins to assemble the door to their cart. 

Now that Gever has built 24 train wheels for our group to use, it's time to think about wheelbase design. Because the task is tedious and requires precision and consistency, we're letting the Junior Collaborators put together a standard "wheel-base" kit for each team to assemble. JC Lauren works to figure out the cart design based on the spacing of our track. 

Portrait of a Collaborator: Nik, perfecting his camera selfie. It's harder to do with a DSLR than a smartphone. 

Junior Collaborator Elizabeth shows Jaya [Monkey] how to make a cut with the circular saw, then helps her do it. 

Watermelon tackles the assembly of the walls for Kablooi's train car. 

Liv and Delia work together on assembling the platform for their train car. It's nice to have a buddy to drill with. 

Sylvia meticulously marks each plank for the floor of Kablooi's cart. 

A study in hair: Lauren tries out two different hair styles at once. She's pulling it off - color us impressed. 

Nik and the Nooi engine team have designed a propulsion system that relies on having a strong line running alongside the whole length of track. They're up at Midway working on fastening and tensioning their line. 

Portrait of a Tinkerer: Avigael helps the effort from above. 

Portrait of a Tinkerer: J-Wolf articulates with his hands. 

JC Elizabeth works tirelessly to drill press out the holes for the axles the wheels will be attached to. These are a critical component of the wheelbase kit we mentioned earlier. 

Portrait of a Tinkerer: Watermelon's always cheerful. 

Sadie takes a moment to enjoy the Sky Bench built by Tinkerers from weeks past. She fits in with the architecture quite nicely. 

Nik helps J-Wolf seal the frayed end of a piece of paracord while Adam looks on. 

Lauren plays "human clamp" as Jaya drives screws. 

Gandalf and Robbie attach the car's side wall to the base they've built. 

Potter checks in with Daniel before making his cut. 

Reed attaches one of the plywood sides to the Sqiki train car. 

Axel's ready! Are you? He checks for the silent thumbs up (the signal that we're ready) from everyone present in the shop before making his cut. 

Usually, free build time happens after dinner, but some ideas can't wait. Tiny skateboards are all the rage. The kids each have the chance to apply skills they've learned so far to their own personal projects. The planning skills they're developing by working on their train cars are really starting to pay off. 

Portrait of a Tinkerer: Fox clambers on the tracks. 

Collaborator Dee and Juan (Max) work together on the cart assembly for Team Piki. Juan loves using the impact driver. 

Liv tests the start of the propulsion system Team Nooi is developing. 

Sylvia hacksaws an axle rod for the wheelbase. 

Watermelon tests out the Sqiki cart, in order to offer an outside opinion (she's part of Team Kablooi).

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Jaya and Reed design a lock for the Sqiki cart - two eyebolts and a large bolt which slides out when the nut is undone. 

Then it's high time for dinner. Each cart team is starting to get a clearer idea of what their cart bodies look like - some are even completely assembled. There's been tremendous progress, but now we're hungry. 

J-Wolf claims he's never tried chicken before. He takes his first bite and decides he likes it. It's documented here. 

After dinner, we each wash our own dishes in the mess line. 

There's a wide variety of ongoing evening activities - each tinkerer can find something they enjoy. 

Free build officially begins. Juan gets to work. 

Caroline helps another set of tinkerers write letters home. 

Wolf (Apollo) tests his balance by standing on a soccer ball. 

And Benjamin elects to quietly read Harry Potter in his bunk. 

A game of tag erupts in the parking lot. 

Back at the shop, it's time to put our projects aside for now. 

We all gather in the conference center as it gets darker, and over warm, chocolate crinkle cookies we watch a handful of (short) Steven Universe episodes. The kids giggle and munch, and then it's time to say goodnight.

We're proud of what we've accomplished so far. Tomorrow's beach day, and we'll take a well earned break. 

Tonights's blog authored by Serena with Elizabeth co-piloting. 

Session D: Day 2 - Foundations

2016 Session D - JuniorsSerena G-H1 Comment

The kids woke up with the sun this morning. Breakfast is at 8:00, and by 6:15, practically all of our tinkerers were awake. 

We start the morning with "Nan" in the dining hall - it's a game played with two people, two pool noodles, and two plastic plates. The aim is to knock your opponent's plate from their hand with the pool noodle. 

Then we gather the group and set off for an early morning hike. 

We pause at the playground to take advantage of the tire swings. Liv waits for her turn. 

Benjamin has discovered a hide-away; there's a plant covered tepee in the garden. 

Then we head up the hill to a clearing where we can see the valley. Well, could have seen the valley, were it not mostly covered in fog this morning. 

Deja-vu - the kids can't resist stopping back at the playground on the way down. 

Happy and hungry, we head back to the Conference Center for breakfast. 

And then it's time for breakfast - we have pancakes as well as scrambled eggs, toast, and cereal. 

Then we gather into groups to hear about our morning projects. 

The goal? Build the tallest structure you can which holds a tennis ball at the very top for at least ten seconds all without using clamps or power tools. The team that gets the ball the highest wins bragging rights.

Junior Collaborator Lauren consults with her teammates. They're up for the challenge. 

Collaborator Nik and his team explore the shop for tools and parts to use for their project. 

Watermelon (Mila) and Reed start to think about how to effectively stack wood. 

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Rob works to fasten together the tripod using paracord to secure the joint. 

Giant Jenga emerges as Avigael, Sadie, Jaya, and Benjamin decide to build a platform to stand on to help get their pole higher in the air. 

Jaya and Sadie work together to fasten the pulley system they've developed to the top of the poll. Teamwork is definitely an emphasis of the morning project today. 

Collaborator Nik guides Jaesean (who's going by J-Wolf this week) on how to use the Japanese pull saw to make notches in a 1x4. Power tools aren't allowed, so we have to cut wood the hard way. His group - J-Wolf, Gandalf (Ethan), and Adam plan to use the notches to couple multiple boards together with paracord. 

Portrait of a Tinkerer: Weston caught in conversation. 

Delia, under the guidance of Junior Collaborator Lauren, ties supports to the really tall board they're using as a tower. 

Reed tests out his tests the hoisting system his team has installed on a tall metal pole that they found. 

Weston asked us to send this photo to his parents. We agreed to post it too the blog. 

Juan (Max) helps his team out by taping together the boards at the base of his team's tower.

The structures in the parking lot are starting to look pretty impressive and tall. 

Wolf (Apollo) and Sylvia learn lashing from Junior Collaborator Lauren, who's a many time Tinkering School alum and a lashing expert. 

Structures are popping up left and right as teams rush to run last minute trials before the big event. 

Similar ideas have emerged across the teams: we see similar platform building techniques emerge, every team holds their tennis ball in a screw bucket, and multiple teams have rigged up pulley systems with which to raise the ball. Still, each tower is unique, with it's own quirks and advantages.

Then it's time for the official runs. 

The first team to go went before we managed to capture them on camera. Here they are, setting up. They measure in at 164 inches. 

Nik and his team have what is perhaps the simplest solution - just a single, continuous post, made of 3 pieces of 1x4 coupled with paracord. Once loaded, they put the tennis ball 198 inches in the air. 

High-fives all around. 

The third team to go has a stationary bucket. Rhody needs a ladder to get the ball into their cup. It holds! 

They all crouch to look at the official measurement... and it comes in at 137 inches!

Jaya and Sadie hold while Avigael gently hoists the basket for the fourth team skyward. They come in at 157 inches. 

Amelia and Odessa work together to hold the pole as high as they can over their heads - it pays off, and they tie for second at 164 inches. 

We break for snack and talk about our accomplishments - even the shortest tower was twice as  tall as the tallest tinkerer we've got this week, and the tallest was more than 3 times that tall.

One of the goals at Tinkering School is "build something bigger than ourselves" - today, we accomplished that. 

Juan enjoys his hard-earned banana. 

Then we disassemble our projects... 

Then gather for the big project reveal: this week, we'll be building a train, to ride on the 300+ feet of track the previous weeks had put together. We'll split into five teams, and each team will design and create their own train car. Questions? 

Rob's ready to get started. 

A group heads down for a visit to the creek before lunch. It's nice to wade in cool water. 

After lunch, we assign the project teams. For the first time in Tinkering School history, we need a fifth team, and thus we needed to add another team name to the traditional Piki, Nooi, Kablooi and Panda. After much discussion, we've decided on "Sqiki."

This week, teams will be as follows: 

On Piki, with Dee, we have Avigael, Fox, Juan, and Wolf.                                                              On Nooi, with Nik,  we have Liv, Adam, Delia and J-Wolf.                                                               On Sqiki with our Junior Collaborators (Lauren, Zach, and Elizabeth), we have Jaya, Sadie, Benjamin and Reed.                                                                                                                           On Kablooi, with Serena, we have Rob, Gandalf, Watermelon and Sylvia.                                       And finally, on Panda with Rhody, we have Amelia, Axel and Potter (Weston). 

We split into groups and begin to talk about design.

Serena and Team Kablooi are tackling an engine car, so they brainstorm not only how the cart will look, but also how we'll get it to move the whole train. There will be one "engine" at either end of our 5-car train, which will let us go both directions along our track without turning the train around. 

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Collaborator Daniel helps Team Panda get started - Amelia sketches an idea. 

The room is ripe with ideas and eager tinkerers seeking to express them. For those moments, there's nothing quite like large brown paper to sketch on.  

Team Sqiki works to translate their ideas to paper. 

After the initial brainstorm, some teams are ready to jump right into build. Dee helps Benjamin use the chop saw. 

Some teams start prototyping first. Nik and Team Nooi are tackling the other engine car. They're thinking about a design where they use a rope and cleat system to essentially row the engine and the cars behind it along the track. Adam tests how much friction he can get between the wood and the rope. 

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Amelia's found a friendly green beetle. 

Team Kablooi's cart base, layed out and ready to be screwed together. 

Sylvia and Rob tackle putting it together. The day's gotten nicer throughout the afternoon, and we're finally getting to see blue skies. 

Portrait of a Tinkerer: Liv's a Tinkering School Day Camp alum, who's excited for her first experience here at overnight camp. 

Portrait of a Junior Collaborator: What's caught Lauren's eye? 

Gever's been working hard throughout the weekend and all this afternoon to put together train wheels for the kids to use this week. Each wheel has been individually cut to round on the table saw. If you look closely, they're slanted - the radius goes from smaller to larger. When assembled into train bases, these wheels will ensure the cart stays on the track. 

Their proud maker, our very own Gever Tulley. He's put a lot of work into planning the wheels, making the jig for the table saw, and then churning them out for us. He stayed until 10:15pm tonight to manufacture all of the parts for assembly. 

Then it's time for clean-up and dinner. Nooi puts away their prototyping supplies. 

After dinner, a handful of kids write letters home. 

Like wheels for a train car, the activities we pursued today all worked towards establishing a strong foundation for our tinkerers this week to build on. The morning project taught on the fly design, helped kids get familiar with the tools and parts at their disposal, and began to develop teamwork skills. The project announcement and brainstorming we did today helps set the stage for the rest of the week. So tomorrow, we build. 

Session D: Day 1 - Tools for Tinkering

2016 Session D - JuniorsSerena G-HComment

Welcome to Tinkering School!  It's Session D, Day 1, and we're starting to hit a rhythm here at camp.

Sunday afternoon and evening gives us a chance to start getting to know our new group of campers. It gives our campers a chance to get to know the camp and each other, and it gives us the perfect opportunity to introduce them to the tools they'll get to know well throughout the week. 

After drop-off, we open with a group circle: we share our names, where we're from, and our "Spirit Tool" - the tool we feel most in tune with. Our campers this week mention everything from sewing machines and lasers to their own hands and tongues. 

We also review the rules of Tinkering School, providing the group with a framework for how to act this week. 

Then it's time for tool training. Today, we're learning about some of our most commonly used Tinkering School tools - clamps, drills, and the chop saw. Each tinkerer is numbered off, and place in one of three groups, which rotate through each training station.

Avigael is fascinated by the clamp structure she helped assemble. 

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Collaborator Nik is leading clamp training this afternoon - he leans over to give some advice to his group as they work out how to use the sometimes finicky clamps. 

Collaborator Serena explains how the drills work before the kids get a chance to try. 

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A couple of our kids have chosen camp names this week, which we try to go by in the blog as well. Collaborator Serena helps Watermelon learn how to use the quick release in the impact drivers to put the drill bit in. 

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Portrait of a Tinkerer: Reed is going by "Deer" this week, because it's his name spelled backwards. 

Collaborator Dee explains to her group how the chop saw works, and how to operate it safely. 

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Adam tries out the different types of clamps. 

Silvia and Deer work together to make their clamp structure longer. Benjamin spies the camera. 

With a little guidance, the tinkerers begin practicing their technique. 

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Each tinkerer used a power tool today, some of them for the very first time.  Now that the tools of tinkering are in their grasp, they are excited to start, and eager for the project reveal tomorrow. More from us then! 

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