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2015 Session D - Middles

Session D: Day 7 - Race and Deconstruct

2015 Session D - MiddlesJosh RothhaasComment

Now complete, and with parents arriving, it’s time for the big race. Though race is a strong word for what happens next. The track is designed with some pretty tight turns and narrow paths, so passing is almost impossible. We are also a bunch of pretty friendly folks, so rating is out of the question. To top if off, on our first go 3 out of 4 carts broke down dramatically, losing wheels, or the ability to steer.

Many were convinced that the racing was over, but to everyone’s delight each team went to pit crew, made rapid fixes and upgrades, and everyone was ready for one more race in just 10 minutes. 

After racing, playing, and showing off, it was time for deconstruction. We may have needed to build a life-size Mario Kart race, but we don’t need to own one. So to drive home this point, the kids and parents help us take everything apart and reclaim the materials for out next project. 

Session D: Day 6 - More, More, More, Again

2015 Session D - MiddlesJosh RothhaasComment

What a day! We woke up to idea’s feeling half finished, incomplete, and potentially impossible. We ended the day with a huge bowsers castle, four fully functional carts, a rainbow road with dozens of stars, and ice world with 2 igloos, and an erupting DK mountain. 

Each team had it’s struggles, set backs, and achievements. The progress is palpable. Check out how each section of the track comes alive across the photos! 

Session D: Day 4 - Progress and Rest

2015 Session D - MiddlesJosh RothhaasComment

Wednesday starts with a functional cart under our belt. But there is so much room to grow. Wheels to experiment with, steering to adjust, and trials to run. 

The scenery and prop making this session are like nothing ever seen before at Tinkering School. Castles, rainbows made of stars, mountains, and igloos are all taking shape.

And right as we meet some success we stop to rest. A full all camp stop to the beach. A short bus ride on the Samtrans 17 down to Linda Mar. We play in the water, burry each other in sand, eat lunch, and lay out in the sun. Sunscreen is liberal and we all make it out without a sunburn.

Once back on campus we shower off. Some opt to get hosed down, we just want to get the salt and sand off. With our brains fried by swimming and sun, we continue the theme of relaxation and get ready for movie night, which tonight is the Secret of Kells.

After that it’s time for bed. Tomorrow is a big day. Thursday is where things get tricky.

Session D: Day 3 - Mario Kart

2015 Session D - MiddlesJosh Rothhaas2 Comments

Morning comes early here at Tinkering School. The sun is up and shining by 6am, breakfast is at 7:30am, and by 8:30am it’s time to get started. Today is the big reveal. What’s the project? What are the group assignments? Tension builds.

This week we are trying something totally new. A mix of form, function, construction, set design, decoration, theater, and play. We are building a Mario Kart track and the karts to ride it and by weeks end we will race on it.

Each team has a chunk of the track and a theme to follow (rainbow road, ice levels, castle levels, dk mountain levels), a pile of reference art, and the task of building a cart to race on the track we will all collectively build. So many possibilities. 

Swiftly, teams subdivide into cart teams and track teams (though there is plenty of blurring) and the idea’s start flowing. How can we create obstacles? how can we creatively overcome the limits of time, supplies, and space? When we can’t re-create, can we imply, suggest, or be inspired by?

We don’t have many answers yet, but we have a lot of solid questions and a few promising prototypes. 

Session D: Day 1 and 2 - Hello's, Noodle Ninja, Benches

2015 Session D - MiddlesJosh RothhaasComment

Day 1

Day one of camp is really just a quarter-day. Not to much tinkering happens, but lots of other things do. Everyone moves in. We lay our rules, expectations, guidelines and more. There is a tour, some getting to know each other games, name challenges, and noodle ninja. Then we get our first camp meal, learn about clean up crews, and end the night with a hike until sunset. On this particular first day, our after-dinner discussions where so riveting that we almost missed our hike entirely!

Noodle ninja involves a single, blindfolded ninja in the center. Everyone else has to try and sneak toward them, touch them, and get away all without getting hit. The noodle ninja is trying to whack people without getting hit. It’s almost too much fun.

At the end of day one we eat some snacks, brush our teeth, get cozy for bed and pass out. Tomorrow is the first full day of camp.

Day 2

Day two of camp is an entirely different beast. We get a few fats and carbs in our bellies, break into groups and start tool training. Chop-saw for utility and safety, drills for proper form, and clamps for ninja-level empowerment and precision.

Once the group has a sense of the different tools and materials, we start our first challenge; benches. We have  fire pit, but around our fire pit there is no good place to sit, so we have to build our own seats.

Halfway through building we end p breaking for lunch. One of our visitors today also happens to be a magician. Magic is like tinkering that makes deception and whimsey primary goals. We love magic at Tinkering School, especially the deceptive but potentially reverse-engineer-able kind. It gets the brain flowing, the kids asking “how?” and the staff laughing. Bob put on a heck of a show, even taught us a cool trick, and left us wondering about the rest.

Back to benches.

So far this year benches have looked a lot like one might imagine arms races look. Each session hears about the accomplishments of the last, and up the ante. This week is no different. With a swinging bench, a well shaded canopy on another bench, a rope back rest, and a curving bench with adjustable back rest, our fire pit is the coziest it has ever been.

Take a peak at the photos below to see them.

Tomorrow we announce the primary project and the teams this week.