Tinkering School

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2018 Session F - Middles

Robot Completion

2018 Session F - MiddlesTinkering School StaffComment

After a delicious breakfast made by Nattie, the campers headed up the hill for another day of hard work. Everyone was eager to finish up the last touches on their robots. The legs team was ready to work on perfecting their leg mechanism and to get their vehicle moving more efficiently. The wheels team was excited to attach their final wheels and get their vehicle rolling. 

Julie gave most campers a ride up the hill.

At the end of the day, the wheels team had a moving cart. Today, they attached three more wheels, finalized their steering mechanism, and attached their fences. The steering mechanism was accidentally attached so that turning the wheel right turns the cart left and vis versa. This was a challenge, but it did not take the campers long to get used to it. Everyone was working hard to get the robot done.

The legs team tested their vehicle multiple times throughout the day. By the end of the day, their robot was moving. Today, they attached supports underneath the vehicle and on their legs. They also connected the scoop to their robot. The day was filled with lots of trial and error and plenty of persistence. 

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JC, Michaela, found a spider in her backpack.

Throughout the day, the campers took breaks to whittled and eat snacks.

Adam and Morgan pretend to be in the Titanic.

After lunch and free build, everyone gathered to do a group show and tell about their progress. Each group explained what they had been designing and building for the past few days. Then, Daniel asked each person to think of the one thing that they were most proud of from camp and to share this with the group. 

In the afternoon, the campers went right back to their projects. They worked hard and were persistent. When it was time to go back down the hill for dinner, both teams had moving robots.

We ended the day with a campfire, and roasted s'mores and starbursts. The campers used cooking spray to create balls of fire in the air. They also got to watch Daniel burning a milk jug.

After the campfire, everyone came back to the conference center for a dance party! Nisa was turned into a mummy.

TSO-F- Day 5 - Robot Rising

2018 Session F - MiddlesTinkering School Staff1 Comment

After a well deserved break at the beach, everyone woke up energized and ready to continue their project. After breakfast, many campers had so much energy they played games like Speed and also did LARP-ing. At nine o'clock, we circled around on the benches and started our walk up to the build site. 

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The legs team was ready to assemble their legs and finish their scoops. The wheels team was excited to work on their steering mechanism and their massive rear wheel. Their steering mechanism has a steering wheel that goes through their chassis and attaches to a bar with a nut and bolt. It was a challenge to put together, but in the end very successful. The leg design is very technically complicated which leads to some frustration with the campers. They persevered and worked diligently through the afternoon. 

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Stella and Alex, on the wheels team, measure out wood for the wall of their vehicle. 

Campers work diligently to fix, tweak, and progress on their projects. They try to work through any problems before time is up. Fisher uses the drill press and chop saw. He practices the safety protocol by ensuring that everyone is ready before he makes his cut. AJ lays out pieces of wood to create his design. Stella uses the drill press to create holes for er axel. Siana drills holes for her scoop.

After free build, in the afternoon, the campers headed down the hill to visit Elkus Ranch's animals. The donkeys, Sassy and Pippy, were very calm and fun to feed. They liked getting their fur brushed. The llama, Spice, was very grumpy, staring angrily at the campers.

After visiting the donkeys, we ventured over to see the goats. The goats were very excited to see us, frolicking around their pen, always trying to get our attention. It wasn't hard for them, of  course, because of their irresistible cuteness. 

Next up were the chickens. Because they were injured, campers were not allowed to pick up the chickens. Even with this, they were fun to be around and pet. Twist was a common favorite.

After visiting the animals, they went back up the hill to continue their projects. Wheels team made a checklist of things to get done. They were able to connect their third wheel, create their pedals, and finalize their steering mechanism. 

Throughout the day, campers took breaks to swing, whittle, and have snacks.

The legs group worked on re-designing their scoops, so they wouldn't be as heavy or bulky. They also worked on assembling the legs of their vehicle. 

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At the end of the day, campers headed back down the hill to dinner. After dinner, campers had the option to have free build time. At free build, the Leg team got their structure on its feet. We finished off the night with everyone watching Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole. The campers went to sleep anticipating their final push tomorrow. We can't wait to see what they accomplish!

TSO-F- Day 4 - Beach Adventure

2018 Session F - MiddlesTinkering School StaffComment

The campers woke up, excited for beach day. We eat a delicious and filling breakfast, made by RAD (Ryker, Aj, and Daniel), in preparation for the big day ahead of us. After breakfast, everyone gets ready for the beach, equipped with their towels, bathing suits, and water bottles, ready to explore, get wet, and hang out. We all meet at the circle of benches, right outside the conference center, and Caroline makes sure we're all sun-screened up before we go. Then we divide up into groups, to fit in several cars, and leave.

Caroline's own words coming back to get her

Caroline's own words coming back to get her

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Fisher explores the hills through the telescope as he waits to leave for the beach. 

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Before going to the beach, Alex and Divya look for ladybugs. 

Collaborator, Adam, notices me taking photos.

Collaborator, Adam, notices me taking photos.

After the meeting, everyone hops into cars, and we make our way to the beach. 

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We make our way down the difficult and narrow path trying to avoid falling into the water. Unfortunately, one camper dropped their water bottle over the edge of the cliff and into the water. Some of us were also unlucky to fall into the water while making our way down to the beach.

The campers try to navigate across the treacherous cliff and make their way towards the beach.

The campers try to navigate across the treacherous cliff and make their way towards the beach.

The campers and a few collaborators grow annoyed with having to wait so long. Luckily, Daniel comes to the rescue! 

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Daniel helps each individual camper down the cliff. 

One by one, the campers jump done from the cliff onto the beach.

Beach day was filled with many activities. Some campers relaxed and read books, while others built tracks for toy cars or explored the caves. Daniel took a group of campers to 

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After a while, everyone enjoyed a sandwich that they had made in the morning.

After lunch, the campers had fun throwing colorful cornstarch at each other. 

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It was discovered that when the colored starch is mixed with water, it creates oobleck!

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On the way back from the beach, we stop at a local boba shop, Boba Dude, to refresh after our long day at the beach.

After we get back from boba, we all hopped in the showers getting ready for dinner. After dinner, everyone felt revitalized and energetic. We were then told to circle up outside. 

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Caroline gathers us all at the benches and announces that she will be training all the campers on how to use knives! 

Knife training is a big part of Tinkering School. It's not only a souvenir campers get to take from Tinkering School, but also a right of passage. In knife training, there are five rules that are learned and tested. If the camper passes, they will get to use the knife throughout the week on a probational period. If they are caught using the knife unsafely, their knife will be taken away. However, if they properly use the knife throughout the week, they will be able to take their knife home. The five knife safety rules are: 
1. Always cut away from yourself
2. Safety bubble
3. Three points of contact
4. Always keep your knife locked
5. Always keep your knife sharp


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To close out the night, we voted on a movie, and unsurprisingly, The Princess Bride won. A few campers made hot chocolate and cookies to share. After the movie ended, the campers got ready to go to bed, preparing for their big push tomorrow. 

TSO-F- Day 3- Robot Build

2018 Session F - MiddlesTinkering School StaffComment

The morning begins with campers eating breakfast and taping Viggo and many others to chairs in an attempt for the "prisoners" to escape. 



After breakfast, the campers went up the hill and jumped back into their projects. The teams met up to decide how to move forward with their robots. 

Team wheels started putting their steering mechanism together while team legs redesigned their legs and built a fence around the body of their cart.

Aj works on the scooping mechanism for the legs group. Some campers learned how to use the angle grinder, hand saw, and jigsaw. 

In the afternoon, campers had free build time and got to work on personal projects. Some of the projects included a hammock, a treehouse, skateboards and chairs.

After free build, the campers went back to work on their projects. At the end of the day, the legs team had finished the body of their robot and had started assembling the legs. The wheels team attached two out of three wheels to their robot and created a steering wheel. 

Before dinner, some campers rode down the hill in Julie's truck.

The campers eat a wonderful dinner prepared by Natty. Later they watched a documentary about a girl who sailed around the world in a year. Then after a few more activities it was bed time. 

TSO-F- Day 2 - Robot Rally

2018 Session F - MiddlesTinkering School StaffComment

As we slowly wake up, a hot breakfast is waiting for us. The campers then took some time to play at the tinker table and experiment with LEDs and batteries.

At 9 o'clock, we all meet. Caroline starts the meeting off by asking what kind of rules they would like to have set for themselves. The campers come up with:

1. Keep your group informed (i.e. make sure everyone is involved and knows what is going on).
2. Have a plan and stay organized.
3. Be kind, ask politely, and treat others how THEY want to be treated. *The campers had originally had "Treat others how you want to be treated." But Caroline and Daniel said "What if you want peanut butter on your face, does that mean its okay for me to put peanut butter on Daniels face?" Then the campers decided to change the rule to "Treat others how THEY want to be treated." 
4. Say "Yes! And..." to new ideas; don't shut down other peoples ideas, instead build off of them.
5. Ask "How can I help?"
6. If there is an emergency, find a collaborator that can help you.

Once they finish coming up with the list, Caroline has them each sign it, as a contract for how they need to be when working in groups. 

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After the campers sign the paper, they all sit back down and for the project reveal. Caroline asks the campers what they think a robot is. Some campers imagine robots, like Baymax from Big Hero Six, some are thinking more along the lines of Siri. Caroline asks the campers to come up with a robot and draw it. 

After the campers finish their drawings, everyone stands up and walks around to observe everyones ideas. Many campers have really cool ideas of what they would have if they could create their robot. 

After they go over these ideas together. They come up with the observation that most of the designs can hold people and/or have wheels. The campers decide that it would be cool if they could make a robot that could hold a few people and move in some sort of way. The campers go back to the drawing board, to come up with more ideas. 

Two of the more popular designs that came up, could hold multiple people, and moved. The campers were interested in both robots using wheels, and mechanical legs.

The campers get split into two groups: wheels and legs.

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The groups each have a set of challenges they must face. The Leg group is in charge of making a robot that moves with mechanical legs, and must be able to grab things. The wheels group is in charge of making a robot that moves, using wheels, must be able to go uphill, and it must be able to grab things. 

The campers meet up with their groups to start designing. 

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Project lead, Adam, works with a few of his team members experimenting with motors.

Project lead, Adam, works with a few of his team members experimenting with motors.

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As camp progresses, the clothespin war gets more and more intense.

After brainstorming and planning out their designs, they head up the hill to start building. Although most walked, some campers rode up on the back of Julie's truck. Everyone met up with their teams, gathered materials, and got to work.                                                                               

Throughout the day, tinkerers took breaks on swings, made by previous campers, and explored the area.

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During lunch, the collaborators held a shady staff meeting.

After lunch, the campers continued working on their projects, even through their free-build time.  Overall the campers had a very productive afternoon.

Nisa made a skateboard and Viggo decides to test it out.

As sunset nears, we decide to circle up again and Kaitlin closes us out. She asks each group what progress they've made, letting them reflect on their busy day of building. The group heads down for a well-deserved dinner. 

As the group prepares to head down, Julie offers rides in her truck. The campers enjoy the ride as the breeze blows by their faces. 

The day winds down with a delicious dinner and entertaining games. As the campers slowly trickle to their yurts, the camp becomes still and the campers fall asleep in preparation for their work-filled day tomorrow. 

TSO-F - Day 1 - Tools and Rules

2018 Session F - MiddlesTinkering School Staff2 Comments

Hello! As you may already know, here at Tinkering School Overnight, we have a fun blog for parents, siblings, ants, uncles, grandparents, and even friends to check out what the campers are up to this week. We capture the fun and creativity campers experience here and put it into a blog to tell a story of how the day went, and we explain the projects campers are working on. So lets get started and we hope you enjoy this weeks blog. 

Campers arrive at 3. Some settle down and head in the conference center. Uno instantly became a popular game. Lock picking has also absorbed some campers. Daniel teaches a few campers how to lock and unlock the handcuff. Viggo decides to test his new knowledge by handcuffing himself to the chair.  

A few people begin playing with straws.  We found out that they make cool structures, and awesome hats.

Fisher, Kenzo, and Niko quickly become friends, and start working at the tinker table together.

At around 4:15, the campers circle up. Before the meeting,  conversations are silly and mainly about the things they've done over the summer. Caroline, our camp captain, starts off the meeting by off by having the campers go around the circle and saying their name and what they consider their spirit tool to be.

The campers learn about the three main rules of Tinkering School with Caroline explaining in detail and with visuals. As Caroline explains, Kaitlyn acts as her scribe, recording the rules onto a whiteboard so that they can be displayed throughout the week and easily followed. The rules are:

1. Do not hurt yourself or anyone else.
2. If you see a piece of fruit, and you want it, you must eat it. *Unless it's on a tree
3. Any dispute is solved by RO SHAM BO.

Next, they started the night activity. First, the challenge was described by Kaitlyn, then the campers were split into groups. In the challenge, one team member would view a hidden object and then  describe it to their group without the ability to see what their group was making. As the challenge went on, the groups were given the option to change the viewer for a new set of eyes. The challenge ended after many rounds and lots of tinkering. Many new friendships were formed. 

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After the challenge, they all circle up and Caroline teaches the campers how to defend oneself against a mountain lion, should they encounter one. Although we haven't seen a mountain lion this year, one was spotted last year near the camp site, so teaching proper protocol seems necessary.

By dinner, new friendships had begun to form. It was a great opportunity to get to know new people, or make faces at them. At dinner, Caroline also introduces the dish washing process.

As dinner was wrapping-up, some campers experimented with the projector Daniel brought out. They began to "draw" on each other.

Clothespins have become a big part of Tinkering culture in the past few weeks. A clothespin war broke out resulting in the clothespins being taken away. Because of this, Viggo decides to create his own.  

After dinner, we head up to the worksite to start tool training. Group 1 starts off with Daniel and he explains why it is important to pick up screws and other materials they use. We call Screws on the ground "Dead Baby Goats" because during the off season, when we are not here, goats come up to the area to eat grass. If there are screws, the goats could eat them.

Kaitlyn is in charge of the chop saw training and she explains all the important things to do before you can cut the wood. These things include:

1. Getting your safety goggles and ear protection

2. Have a collaborator that is at least 18

3. Make sure everyone is ready by asking "Is everybody ready?"  If one's in the workshop, and they're ready, they'll give a silent thumbs up. However, if they are not ready, they'll say, "I'm not ready!"

I saw a fox while the campers were exploring the forrest and playing on the swings.

I saw a fox while the campers were exploring the forrest and playing on the swings.

Daniel shows the campers what poison oak looks like.  He also shows the campers what Tecnu is: a special soap that gets the oils from poisonous plants, like poison oak, off of your skin to stop an allergic reaction from occurring.

As the sun goes down and the fog rolls in, tool training wraps up. The campers head back down the hill and into the conference center.

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During quiet time, the campers were each given a sketch book to put all their amazing ideas and drawings down on paper.

AJ notices me taking photos and pretends to be writing something, which was fine, the only problem was that he forgot to grab a pencil.

AJ notices me taking photos and pretends to be writing something, which was fine, the only problem was that he forgot to grab a pencil.

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In the kitchen, hot cocoa is being made. A few campers decide they want whipped cream on their cocoa.  They discovered that we have no whipped cream in the fridge, so Alex and Kennedy put Heavy whipping cream in a bowl and started whisking it. After a few minuets they decided to use a drill and a fork to mix it faster. That, however, did not work very well and they ended up putting it into a jar to shake it until it turned in to whipped cream, which worked faster. 

After cocoa was served, The campers got ready for bed and it was lights out by 10 most of the campers stayed up a bit longer to read.

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