Putting It All Together

Building the individual components of our Rube Goldberg contraption is pretty tough.

Leo and Lindsay test the bowling ball ski jump.

Leo and Lindsay test the bowling ball ski jump.

Getting all those parts to work together is even tougher. 

Max cutting a plate to receive the weight that will operate the chop saw.

Max cutting a plate to receive the weight that will operate the chop saw.

Right now we have a plinko machine, a marble run tower, a chemistry=powered balloon rocket, giant dominoes, a bowling ball ski jump and a big swingin' boot.

Raising the 360-degree marble run tower,

Raising the 360-degree marble run tower,

We have one day left to get all the components working together with the hopes of a chain reaction ending with the human-free operation of a chopsaw.

The boot that will start it all.

The boot that will start it all.

The great thing about Tinkering School is it's very open-ended. We have no idea how or whether this thing is going to work. We're just gonna try really hard and see what happens

Technical drawing.

Technical drawing.

Kinetic Potential

We're making a Rube Goldberg-inspired chain reaction contraption this week. It requires lots of patience and a willingness to fight against finicky mechanisms.

These are the smallest dominoes in a sequence that will end with (we hope) a 96"x16" domino.

These are the smallest dominoes in a sequence that will end with (we hope) a 96"x16" domino.

The decorative base of a tower that will hold a 360-degree ball run.

The decorative base of a tower that will hold a 360-degree ball run.

Stairs for the dominos to climb.

Stairs for the dominos to climb.

Leo measures a tower for the combustion-powered zipline.

Leo measures a tower for the combustion-powered zipline.

Let's get chemical. A moment of levity while figuring out how to mix the baking soda and vinegar that will power the zipline.

Let's get chemical. A moment of levity while figuring out how to mix the baking soda and vinegar that will power the zipline.

Also, we are in collective love with the saws. Click below to move through a gallery of cuts, cuts, cuts!

Making Things Complicated

This week we are going to do things the hard way...for fun!  Using the drilling, clamping and chop saw skills we learned this morning we are going to create the most complex, twisty, turny, loud, amazing way to cut a tiny stick of wood: An Action-Reaction Machine!

Elizabeth, Katherine, and Clem do some complicated measuring to get the angle of the domino stairs just right.

Elizabeth, Katherine, and Clem do some complicated measuring to get the angle of the domino stairs just right.

Alex, Elias, and Duncan practice intricate clamping.

Alex, Elias, and Duncan practice intricate clamping.

Audrey demonstrates the "twisty" clamp!

Audrey demonstrates the "twisty" clamp!

Tinkerers got right to work on a "Plinko" ball bearing run, a Giant Domino run, and a gas powered - chemical reaction Balloon Rocket segment!

Dylan uses the chop saw to cut a miter.

Dylan uses the chop saw to cut a miter.

Owen, Ethan, and Leo add supports to the bottom of the Balloon Rocket tower.

Owen, Ethan, and Leo add supports to the bottom of the Balloon Rocket tower.

The Plinko team figures out the placement of the plinks.

The Plinko team figures out the placement of the plinks.

Katia uses the hand saw to work on her personal project.

Katia uses the hand saw to work on her personal project.

With one tower, the Plinko base, and tons of dominos finished in one afternoon we are hitting the ground running on this Rube Goldberg machine! We can't wait to see what else these tinkerers think up for it!

To see more captivating pictures of tinkering - in - progress head on over to our flickr page!

We Really Really Did it!!

The biggest obstacle that we overcame today (besides the GIANT CLIMBING WALL/WEB) was containing our excitement about playing on the obstacles, so that we could finish them! AGH! It was hard, but look what these Tinkerers accomplished this week:

A branching tunnel so long it won't fit in one photo!

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Maya makes a decision in the dark: MonkeyBars or Climbing Wall?

Maya makes a decision in the dark: MonkeyBars or Climbing Wall?

Kiana finds her way out of the dark!

Kiana finds her way out of the dark!

We hit some tricky design problems with the Monkey bars, but finished in time to swing around!

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A lot of the obstacles involved not just fastening pieces of wood together, but also complex rope situations, that even the tiniest of fingers mastered.

After flailing through the Balloon Pit we snaked through the Laser Maze!

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Then it was up the Climbing Wall and, with an exciting twist, down the Spider Web backwards!!

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The space was so filled with giant things to play on that we didn't have enough room to attempt to maneuver around on our Huge Team-Skis. The campers this week had no problem visualizing and creating their dream playground this week.

We were impressed with how teams powered through each frustrating moment. We are excited to see what they get up to in the future. But for now ....

LETS PLAY WITH BALLOONS!!!

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Our Obstacle Course is Looking AWESOME (and It's Only Thursday!)

After only four days, we have a pretty awesome obstacle course.

There's a fake laser maze--it took a lot of concentration and attention to detail to string all the fake lasers, and then add jinglebells to each (so they make a sound if you hit a laser!)

There's also a Tunnel of Epicness + Monkeybars, that's well over 20 feet of climbing, crawling and swinging.

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We wove (yes, wove) walls of a balloon pit, which we'll fill with balloons tomorrow, (after we calm down from the sheer excitement of having balloons and balloon pumps.)

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And, oh yes--a climbing wall, which our campers started only this morning--and were testing parts of by this afternoon!

We have one full day left, check out our next post for the full, finished obstacle course!


Many Hands Make More Things!

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The second day of Tinkering School is so exciting because we get to jump right into building! Yesterday afternoon all the projects got their bases pretty well constructed so today we took everything to the next level.

Atessa experiments with ways to create mesh for the Balloon Pit.

Atessa experiments with ways to create mesh for the Balloon Pit.

Eli and Siva attach a support to the LASER Maze.

Eli and Siva attach a support to the LASER Maze.

Riya and Kira take their tunnel into the third dimension.

Riya and Kira take their tunnel into the third dimension.

As each project progressed and solved problems, tinkerers learned to use new tools and picked up some new skills!

Evie very carefully uses the rope cutter to melt some LASER cord.

Evie very carefully uses the rope cutter to melt some LASER cord.

Auden practices the square knot he just learned to attach the laser cord to the Maze!

Auden practices the square knot he just learned to attach the laser cord to the Maze!

Siva masters the drill press!

Siva masters the drill press!

After working so excitedly some well deserved breaks were in order:

Balloon Pit team takes some rest in the shade of their hard labor.

Balloon Pit team takes some rest in the shade of their hard labor.

Maya takes a break from building and gets to work with colors.

Maya takes a break from building and gets to work with colors.

The Laser Maze team took a break from work to clean up their area to prep for their next stage of building: Laser Installation. Thanks for being so thoughtful!

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At closing circle where we share stories of Kids being awesome to Kids we heard so many reports of amazing teamwork. The evidence is all around us: three projects are almost done by the end of Day 2! What else will we create this week!?

Making Obstacles to Overcome

Summer has been going smoothly--too smoothly. This week, we're gonna create some obstacles to overcome, literally.

Siva and Eli frame.

Siva and Eli frame.

Our big picture goal is to create a massive obstacle course. Of course, the path to big things begins with modest steps. 

Clamp training. Clamps are essential tools for kids who want to work independent of adults!

Clamp training. Clamps are essential tools for kids who want to work independent of adults!

We learned to use the chopsaw, the drills, the clamps and mix paint.

With a shared understanding of our tools and materials, we begin designing our projects.

Our big goals are to 1) treat each other kindly and 2) try hard, even when things are tough. Here, we see both on display.

Our big goals are to 1) treat each other kindly and 2) try hard, even when things are tough. Here, we see both on display.

We'll start with a tunnel, a laser maze (think "Entrapment" or "Ocean's 12") and a balloon pit. 

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Stay tuned here and our flickr to follow our progress through the week!

Like so many things here at Tinkering School, paint is on walk-up access, no adult necessary. It's an act of trust, one that has been well-respected by our awesome campers.

Like so many things here at Tinkering School, paint is on walk-up access, no adult necessary. It's an act of trust, one that has been well-respected by our awesome campers.