Tinkering School

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2018 Session A - Seniors

TSO-A - Day 6- The Final Push...

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Weeks really do fly by at the Tinkering School. Well, at least this week did. The campers are just heading back from their last build, tired and satisfied [for the most part]. Some might go back and fine tune their projects later to get ready for their final tests tomorrow, before they take their projects apart. One of the many wonderful things about the Tinkering School is the process of taking the projects apart at the end of the camp, leaving only the experience [and MANY photos] to take back. This physical act of taking apart projects represents the importance of experience and not the final product; it is all about the fun had, things learnt, and experiences had. 

Today, Piki further refined their project by changing the rope used, adding a crank and looking at different ways to hoist the chair [one pulley or two]. They used fish wire to connect two ropes together since the length was not adequate. Fish wire is used because it is much stronger than other wire and can bear up to 65 lb of weight. They also worked to make the ride smoother and decorated the chair. This project seems good to go for the tests tomorrow. 

Nooi has been working really hard. They faced significant challenges today both structurally and mechanically. They had to add even more support on the top of the structure since it was the one actually pulling the elevator, which was quite challenging because they had to work at an elevation of 10 feet and had to trust their structure [we made sure it was safe of course]. Some of them spent the day working on the mechanisms and figured out the pulley system that they will use. They changed rope plans many times as well and decided to use the block and tackle pulley system. After a long, hard day of work their system works smoothly and happily!

Kablooi worked on refining their elevator system and they are done as well [almost... all they have to do is test it or a final time]! They worked on making the ride smoother, decorated the elevator. It is wonderful to see their group come together like this and I am happy to say that they worked passed their issues and have created something that goes up!

It was such a wonderful week and as a blogger, I was able to observe the workings of Tinkering School. I am excited to see what the coming weeks have in store for me and I look forward to interacting with campers more as a collaborator than a blogger. 

We are having a bonfire tonight to conclude camp and spend the last night together singing songs and having a good time..
To say goodbye, here are some more silly photos of us having a good time....

TSO- A- Day 5- Upwards is the Way to Go!

2018 Session A - SeniorsTinkering School Staff1 Comment

A lot happened today. Piki, Nooi and Kablooi all have something that goes up, or something that could go up. They have all been working very hard and seem to be enjoying it. This process of tinkering is not only about building all these wonderfully inspiring projects but it is also about learning how to work with others, learning how to believe in yourself and actually being in charge 100%. Each group has learnt through mistakes and have pushed through all that confusion and frustration. They come out smiling, have more questions, and are even more inspired to try new things. 

Today Piki was testing their seat from greater heights and tried to find ways to make a sturdier. Their plan is to divide the weight of the chair between two pulleys and stabilize it with wood in between, and since this is still something that they are working on I am excited to see how they move forward. Today, they replicated the model, created an exciting break system and attached all the pulleys. They now have the [almost] final version up and ready test... 

Nooi is all about the structure! They started the day by dismantling their work from the first day. They then added onto the sturdy structure that they put up a couple days ago. They added lots of triangles to make it even stronger. The lift is also all done, placed and ready to go up! Tomorrow will be the day of mechanisms for this group. They have been working really hard to make their structure sturdy and I think they have succeeded [we will see after the tests], they secured the path of the elevator even more by adding secure vertical poles. All I can say is that if this works, they view will be out of this world!

Kablooi really got things going for them today! They have an elevator and will spend tomorrow working on the little glitches. Today was the day where all the little tinkering they did came together. This group had been having some group dynamic issues but just seeing them come together today while testing their elevator just warmed my heart. They were a real group today and they have something to show for it! 
They created the preliminary elevator with the base board and rope found around the shop, which definitely made the elevator go up but the board was not balanced and rope kept getting tangled. Loren brought some new stronger rope for the group and this time, the lifting process was so much smoother. They also built a railing system to keep the board more balanced. I am excited to see how the make this ride smoother tomorrow!!

Here are some other fun photos of the day to finish this post. Adios my friends.

TSO- A - Day 4- Other Kinds of Tinkering

2018 Session A - SeniorsTinkering School StaffComment

It was beach day today, a much needed break in the middle of the week to tinker in another environment and just relax. As we were getting into cars ready to hit the road, I kept hearing tinkerers say that they wanted to work on their project some more! It made me so happy to observe such excitement and dedication in their voices. Of course, all was forgotten once we got to the beach...

It was a relatively cold and cloudy day which meant that the water was out of bounds, but we explored our surroundings thoroughly. We walked in the lagoons, on rocks of varying shapes and sizes, observed the nature, picked up jellyfish and sang happy tunes. We regularly pet dogs as they crossed paths with us on their daily walks. 

On our way back some of us went to a fruit stall and bought a big crate of strawberries, some mangoes, artichokes, apples, a lemon, and cilantro. The other group went to Safeway to get us some popcorn for movie night and they also got bubble tea [lucky lucky]!!!! We will be watching The Incredibles tonight which I am very excited for. The tinkerers have been telling me how good it is and have been encouraging me to watch the second one. There are a lot of exciting snacks baking in the kitchen tonight as well. 
Beach Day is also the only day that tinkerers are required to shower, so everyone smells fresh, rejuvenated and excited for the evening. 

We explored our environment through our senses today, namely touch, we felt the grains of sand under our feet, we painfully felt the prickly rocks, the cold water on our toes, the soft brush of algae, the slimy jellyfish.... We observed our surroundings and found a rock that could be crafted into a pencil holder and a piece of driftwood that would make a wonderful table. Our minds are alive with ideas ready to work on our grand projects some more... 

TSO- A - Day 2- Going Up

2018 Session A - SeniorsTinkering School Staff1 Comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TSO - A - Day 1 - It Begins...

2018 Session A - SeniorsTinkering School Staff3 Comments

The parents depart and we come together as a group for the first time today at 4 with an opening circle. We talk about the three Tinkering School Rules:
1. Don't hurt yourself or anyone else..
2. If you see a fruit and you want it, you should eat it.*
*Don't take fruit off trees.
3. All disputes will be settled with "Ro sham Bo" (rock paper scissors)
(We also mention that spellings are not a thing at the tinkering school, as long as everyone understands what is written.)

We also introduce ourselves, our pronouns and our spirit tools.

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Since this is a seniors group we also decide our bedtime and dinner time.

After we have all come together and seen each others faces we are ready for tool training and practice. We head to the work site, divide into 4 groups and:
1. Learn how to use a drill with Caroline. 
2. Practice using a drill with Reid and build shapes of all forms. 
3. Learn how to use a chop saw with Kaitlyn. 
4. Try to build chairs with Rhody using just clamps. 
and.....
5. Tour the site with Daniel. 

Caroline explains the drill protocol.

Caroline explains the drill protocol.

The drill is used to make holes, drive in screws and drive out screws. 
Justin and Andy visualize their shape. Deniz and Emily make sure that they have the right screw. Charlie tests the durability of their shape while Claire observes. Sonia's drill bit gets stuck in the wood, she figures out how to screw it back on and make a hole.

The three rules for using the chop saw are:
1. Always cover your eyes.
2. Always cover your ears.
3. There must always be an adult present. 

Tinkerers try their hand at this very cool tool. They check if everyones ready and look around for thumbs up. They focus and make sure they will be making the correct cut. They turn it on and make the cut!!!! 

The clamp challenge today was to make a chair using just clamps....

Sonia chats with Rampage about the book Catch 22 while Lyosha explores the different drill bits. 

Sonia chats with Rampage about the book Catch 22 while Lyosha explores the different drill bits. 

On tour with Daniel.... 

On tour with Daniel.... 

After all the training Caroline and Kaitlyn demonstrate mountain lion safety....

After all the training Caroline and Kaitlyn demonstrate mountain lion safety....

We have lasagna and salad for dinner and chat about pulleys.
Kaitlyn plays a game with us.
And we tinker some more.... 

The night ends with communal card games and chats in the conference center. It quiets down as the campers head to their yurts Saturn, Mars or Jupiter to sleep a sound sleep and get up tomorrow for another exciting day... 

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