The first workshop I ever helped at here at the Tinkering School was a welding workshop, so they hold a special place in my heart. Sparks fly, kids are on the edge of their seats, ears perked, super interested in what exactly is happening when that special yellow-green light is glowing. All Girls Welding Workshops are extra special, because I think they get really close to so many of our goals: nix the jargon, learn a technical skill, and practice so many social emotional skills along the way.
We started the day with a quick safety overview: heat, UV rays, and electricity. Assume all metal you see is hot today! Give it a quick wave with your hand before touching it. Wear your safety glasses all day! Even at lunch, because UV rays are invisible. While there is a whole lot of electricity moving from one end of this circuit to the other, it's actually pretty hard to get yourself into the circuit. Everybody, make sure to stay dry during this welding workshop, and we should be good. Also, ask your kiddo about the amperage:cars, voltage:road talk. It's one of my favorites to give!
Then, we got started with the real meat of the day: trying welding (some for the first time!), designing a project and getting to work!
Today was so awesome for this reason: everyone got so much welding done! With 3 welding stations, 9 kiddos was a great number. One welding, 2 on deck. While on deck, kiddos needed to figure out how to setup their work in order to be ready go when their turn arrived. We explained at the beginning of the day that about 90% of welding is just getting your work and your body setup and ready to weld. This means using magnets, clamps, other pieces of metal to, whenever possible, weld in the direction of gravity (flat position) and thinking about where you will rest your non-dominant arm to stabilize your had that is holding the welding gun. These kiddos really took this to heart, and thought through their setup instead of grabbing for the trigger. While this takes a bit of time, it meant we could move through turns really efficiently, which meant kids got lots of time on the welder. Yay!
Then, at the end of the day, everyone did an amazing job helping us clean up. A few even helped us grind the tables clean to be ready for our next welding workshop! Today was the best. What can I say, we really really did it today!
Check out more pictures from today on our Flickr!