Monster City Rising

Monster City is going through a period of rapid growth.

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The modest cardboard suburbs are now dwarfed by towering (twelve feet!) cardboard towers.

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The growth shows no signs of stopping--as kids see the city sprawl, they get interested and join in, making a few houses. It's cool to see building techniques develop and spread among the team.

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The giant moving Godzilla is being built in several parts. Some members of the team focused on the spikes that run the length of Godzilla's spine, while other started adding wheels to the base and framing the limbs.

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And then, there is the Chrysler Building, King Kong's playground. To match the reflective deco panels of the steel version in New York City, the team developed a cool new method:

They watered down Elmer's glue, then spread the weak adhesive over cardboard, then adhered aluminum foil to teh cardboard. So now, the team is able to cut panels with the reflectiveness of aluminum foil and the rigidity of cardboard.

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Cool!




Boom Times in Monster City

Our Monster City week is hitting stride.

Izzy, high atop the spire of the Chrysler Building,

Izzy, high atop the spire of the Chrysler Building,

There's a giant, moving Godzilla being built in parts, not too far from an 800 ft. sq. cardboard metropolis.

Campbell and Giovanni, making Godzilla's spinal spikes.

Campbell and Giovanni, making Godzilla's spinal spikes.

The spire of the Chrysler building looms above it all.

For more pictures of the City in progress, click through the gallery below and check out our Flickr.

The Foundations of Monster City

This week, inspired by modern legends like King Kong, Godzilla and Mothra, we are building MONSTER CITY--a miniature city here in our beloved mayonnaise factory.

Big Henry and K-Mac seem very excited about painting their contraption.

Big Henry and K-Mac seem very excited about painting their contraption.

We're also building the monsters to terrorize the city...

Aiden on the bandsaw.

Aiden on the bandsaw.

...and a very large replica of the spire of the Chrysler building.

This team is making the spikes for Godzilla's back. They cut over 50 tiny triangles! Here, Eve clamps one of the triangles to a section of board, which will be attached to Godzilla's spine.

This team is making the spikes for Godzilla's back. They cut over 50 tiny triangles! Here, Eve clamps one of the triangles to a section of board, which will be attached to Godzilla's spine.

We're off to a steady start. Stay tuned here for updates!

It's all hands on deck for the construction of the base of Godzilla.

It's all hands on deck for the construction of the base of Godzilla.

A Week of Balance

This week we built projects around the theme of BALANCE.

Georgia walks across the commando line.

Georgia walks across the commando line.

Evan re-enforces the beam that holds the rope in tension.

Evan re-enforces the beam that holds the rope in tension.

Tia and Noah play with the plywood squid and whale that hang from the giant mobile.

Tia and Noah play with the plywood squid and whale that hang from the giant mobile.

Miller and Miles cut out a squid with the jigsaw.

Miller and Miles cut out a squid with the jigsaw.

Milo and Mason on the axle-less See-Saw.

Milo and Mason on the axle-less See-Saw.

Charlotte crosses the commando line, a scary-enough four feet off the ground!

Charlotte crosses the commando line, a scary-enough four feet off the ground!

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Micah on the swinging balance beam--the platform she's walking on swings back and forth--it's connected by paracord, not screws!

Micah on the swinging balance beam--the platform she's walking on swings back and forth--it's connected by paracord, not screws!

Nina and Alex weigh themselves against an adult on the giant Scales of Justice.

Nina and Alex weigh themselves against an adult on the giant Scales of Justice.

Balance Boards and Justice

Today was a big day.

We finished our giant Scales of Justice

After lots of careful framing of the scale, the hanging baskets and approach platforms, we were finally able to answer the question: how many kids does it take to counterbalance a collaborator?

(Click the picture below to move through a gallery of the Scales of Justice)

It was awesome to see the kids who had really dug into the project discussing the finer points as they waited to hop on the scale. What if the baskets could swivel? What if the axle hole had not been drilled dead center? What if there were springs on the bottoms of the baskets?

When a completed project leads to more questions and more project ideas, we know things are going well!

Meanwhile, a more intimate exploration of balance broke out in the form of Balance Boards! The construction is fairly straightforward: a plank about the width of your foot and about as long as your stance, balanced on a short section of PVC. 

Our young builders took the idea really far, fashioning boards that looked like mini surfboards, skateboard, snowboards and rockets--also gigantic pencils, a hot dog and a peanut!

(Click the picture below to move through a gallery of balance boards)

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Balance: Day 2

The second day of Tinkering Schools is very different from the first.

Maya uses the drill press for a mobile part.

Maya uses the drill press for a mobile part.

On the first day, we have a slow build. We talk over group agreements, train on the tools, and flesh out design ideas. A lot needs to happen before the first cuts can be made!

Miller uses the jigsaw.

Miller uses the jigsaw.

On the second day, we get right down to work after a brief morning meeting. The excitement is pretty big--on day two (and for the rest of camp) we get right down to the best part--building!

Micah, Thomas, Mason,Chelsea, Sophia and super-volunteer Jhonny work on the fulcrum of a giant Scales of Justice.

Micah, Thomas, Mason,Chelsea, Sophia and super-volunteer Jhonny work on the fulcrum of a giant Scales of Justice.

This week's theme is BALANCE. We've started in on a maze of balance beams, a giant mobile, a lattice of smaller mobiles and a gigantic scales of justice.

Zoey and Jah-Amiel.

Zoey and Jah-Amiel.

Stay tuned for more!

Charlotte holds up what will be the bottom of a platform, for placing objects on the giant Scales of Justice.

Charlotte holds up what will be the bottom of a platform, for placing objects on the giant Scales of Justice.

Balance: Day 1

This week, we are building projects around the theme of BALANCE.

Georgia and Charlotte.

Georgia and Charlotte.

We start by familiarizing ourselves with the tool sand materials.

Grabbing screws and bits at the tool wall.

Grabbing screws and bits at the tool wall.

We practice the barest fundamentals: combining material (with the drills)

Sophia and Ryan make the base of a giant Scales of Justice.

Sophia and Ryan make the base of a giant Scales of Justice.

Felix and Gabriel.

Felix and Gabriel.

...holding material in place (with the clamps)...

Ella, Sophia, Tia and Alex practice the clamps.

Ella, Sophia, Tia and Alex practice the clamps.

Jah-Amiel and Nathan clamp the base of a balance beam.

Jah-Amiel and Nathan clamp the base of a balance beam.

...and subtracting material (with the chop saw).

Ben and Ryan cut a stud.

Ben and Ryan cut a stud.

Our first projects include balance beams...

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...and mobiles made of hardware.

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As always, the day ends with a good clean-up and campers telling stories of other campers being excellent.

Brothers in cleaning!

Brothers in cleaning!