Build Big: Thursday at TSC

Posted: July 24th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

When we find time to really dig into a project, we have moments where the work is exciting and comes easy.  We have moments were it is difficult to keep plugging away.  We have ways to keep going, and those moments where we just know we need to rest.

We kept going all morning, paused for lunch and got right back to it.  Our pallet structure passed milestones today.  It was awesome, then it was really good, and now that is has reached epic status, we are more excited and focused than ever.

We built a big long bridge from one cube to the next.  Then we built a double decker that will serve as the look-out tower.  We know what we have to do tomorrow to make it all really come together, but for now we pause, play, and plan.

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Wednesday at Tinkering School Chicago: Building, Adventures, and Clay

Posted: July 24th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Once again we woke up and began work straight away.  We made serious progress on our pallet fortress.  The poles we are using slide right into the middle section of the pallet.  This discovery led us to some quick production of big key parts to our ever-evolving structure.

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While some of us continued building, Adult Collaborator Chloe set up a clay project.  First we collect clay from the creek.  Then we squish it, mix it, play with it, and start creating.  After we finish, we then let the creations bake in the sun all day.  Once they have dried out significantly, we use the camp fire to finish them.

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Of course, we also found some time to play in the creek.


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It was a big, gorgeous day of building and playing in the woods.


Posted: July 22nd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

The Tinkerers are always excited on the first morning of camp.  This morning began early, with a flurry of activity.  By 7:00 a.m. the young builders were clamping, drilling, and sawing.  While some worked on the pallet structure we are all building the others took the time to free build.  Hamza built a gorgeous little table (shown below as a work in progress)


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After we had worked until our hearts were content, we paused for lunch.  Over lunch we unanimously decided that we should take a break.  The day was starting to warm, and so with full bellies we meandered over to the swimming spot.  It is a nice walk , about a mile or so. We arrived jubilantly and enjoyed this small peaceful lake.  The afternoon slipped away with us laughing and playing in the water.

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As we walked back we made plans.  We took too are work again, as much as the afternoon sun allowed.  Then after a delicious dinner we rested back by the fire to sing songs, recount the day, and look forward to what tomorrow brings.

 

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Tinkering School Chicago ’14: Building with Pallets

Posted: July 21st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

The second session of Tinkering School Chicago this summer has begun!   On this fine summer day we begin a project that will last us the week.  We are building with shipping pallets.  We have found a perfect location and all the materials.  Now we begin to develop our understanding of how to build with these large pieces.  We drill, hammer, saw, measure, and become familiar.  We make big plans, and get really strategic about how to execute them.

 

We worked hard this evening to learn how to fasten to pallets together so that they are super sturdy.  Tomorrow we will continue to learn, while we also put our knowledge, skills, and imaginations to the tests.

 

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Thursday at Tinkering School Chicago was astounding!

Posted: July 17th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Camp | No Comments »

When we stopped and took a look at what we had done this week.

We amazed ourselves!

On the last night of camp we had one more camp-fire and ask everyone what their favorite part of the week was.  Tinkerers spoke of working for 3 hours on a project and feeling like it and only been 10 minutes.  Of making astonishing discoveries exploring the creek.  We spoke of the joy and beauty of sitting around a campfire after a big long day of summer fun.  And perhaps best of all we recount the way we have all become friends.

 

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 We are Builders.

 

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We are Explorers.

 

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We are Friends.

 


Wednesday at Tinkering School: Perfect weather and inexplicable amounts of fun

Posted: July 17th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Camp | No Comments »

Typically in mid-July in central Illinois we have to battle the heat.  But on this Wednesday at Tinkering School Chicago, we experienced the most gorgeous day ever recorded.  It was perfect for building, playing, and exploring, and that is just what we did.

While the water balloon launchers rested, some of us built a  shelf to display all our nature discoveries and the others continued our annual clay explorations.

As the afternoon sun rose and warmed up the day some of us  took a walk over to the swimming hole, while the rest stayed behind to work with adult collaborator Patrick and make the most delicious pies ever recorded in human history.

 

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Launch! Launch! Launch!

Posted: July 16th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Camp | No Comments »

We launched water ballon after water ballon after water balloon today. . . . .   With the contraption we built yesterday, and bit of strategy we where able to consistently hit around our target.  We had so many near misses.  So many times just over the top of the target. . . . . and then finally we hit once twice and now we are ready.  Now for the next step in our mission.   Send a small water proof camera into the air and wing water balloons right at it!

 

 

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Our goal was dampened by a stiff wind that made the balloons a quick and sporadic moving target.  We improvised, pulled out all the stops, and had a ton of summer fun along the way.

 

Tomorrow we will try again in the evening, when the wind typically calms.

 


Water Ballon Launching, a tree fell, and a nice rain storm

Posted: July 15th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Camp | No Comments »

We began the day slowly.  Experimenting with the water balloons themselves.  Can we put a water balloon inside a water balloon?  What about an air balloon inside a water balloon or vice versa?  You get the idea.

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When we broke off into project groups we began to explore how to build out the water balloon launcher so that 2 people don’t have to hold it while someone else pulls back.  It is fun to launch with the 3-person method, but hard to achieve any degree of accuracy, which seems to be our goal.

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We also fell a huge dead tree that was way too close to our campsite.  It looked decayed and as if it might fall any minute.  But as it turns out, it was really sturdy. I suppose it may have stood there dead for another 50 years, although the branches were giving way.  We axed and sawed while keeping tension on a rope that looped around another tree.  It is of the utmost importance to control which way the tree falls.  After about 2 hours of good hard work, we finally achieved what at moments seemed impossible.

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As we explored the creek after lunch a hard rain began to fall.  We took shelter for a couple of hours while the thunder boomed outside.  We played ping pong, cards, board games, and whatnot until the storm finally moved on.

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After dinner we got a nice sturdy example of what an accurate water balloon launcher might look like.  The design is essentially an A-frame flipped on its side.  We are looking forward to further testing tomorrow.

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Let’s get right to it!

Posted: July 14th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Camp | No Comments »

 

Tinkering School Chicago 2014 is underway!~

We spent the first day setting up camp and exploring the  100 acres of beautiful forest here.  The forest is calming, endlessly intriguing, and down right gorgeous.

Right off we began work on a few Tinkering School Chicago traditions!  We explored the creek, hung up swings and had a nice camp fire.

We also built a beautiful cedar picnic table.

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There is a serious sense of pride and accomplishment when you eat dinner at a table that you helped to construct.

 

 

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Zoe and Joe are natural explorers.

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We found all kinds of gorgeous stones.

The variety of different types of rock found in the creek bed is astounding.  You can see every color, shape, and pattern.  We found some beautiful fossils as well.

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Tomorrow at Tinkering School Chicago we launch water balloons.  Really Really Really Far!


Tinkering School Chicago- 2014

Posted: January 14th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Camp Status, Tinkering | No Comments »

With an ever growing excitement Tinkering School Chicago (TSC) is pleased to catch you up on what has been going on, announce  2 sessions of overnight camp this summer, and wish you all the best in 2014.

Here is the APPLICATION for next year’s overnight summer camp, which takes place in Central Illinois.

Session A:  July 13-18

Session B:  July 21-26

Please be thorough in filling out the application. Take the time to write us, and tell us why you love Tinkering School.

Applications will be reviewed on February 28th, the last day to apply.

Accepted tinkerers will be notified by March 15.

Please let us know if you have any questions while filling out the application.

dustin@tinkeringschool.com

The director of TSC, Dustin Thacker, spoke at TEDxNapverville on November 8th.

Watch him recite about 7 minutes of creative prose, ruminating and re-articulating an array of thoughts on the Tinkering School experience.

 

Dustin said of speaking at  TEDx . . . . “It was a unique and powerful process writing (and rewriting again and again) a poem about my tinkering school experience.  I was  trying to send out a message that left some room for interpretation, being inclusive of larger community of makers, but at the same time deeply personal.”

let him know what you thought of it . . . . dustin@tinkeringschool.com

As we continue to slowly grow our program, we are always looking for like-minded people to share ideas, resources, and their time.   Please contact Dustin if you have anything in mind, and to all of you who have reached out to us already, Thank You!  Thank you for your patience, kind offers and brilliant ideas.   Email us again! dustin@tinkeringschoolchicago.com