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We started off the week learning about tools and safety. Everyone drilled holes to form their initials or first name by making holes in 2×4′s. Then they used an electric sander to smooth and a saw to saw off their section. Other’s started with metal and used a hammer and punches to make designs in metal pieces. While others practiced with electric and manual screw drivers as hey used nails and screws to “draw” their names on different pieces of wood. Other activities included exploring circuits – using a battery and a switch to turn a motor on and off and using their tool practice to take apart a printer.
Everyday started off with a meeting where we discussed what the plan was for the day and ended with a reflection meeting, where everyone shared what they worked on that day.Everyone asked each other questions and offered suggestions for those who were stuck.
On the 2nd day, I challenged them to use what they learned to make a scribble -bot or a bristle bot that looked like their dots or puffies. Other’s explored toys by taking apart dancing stuffed animals – learning how to use scissors with fabric and then used recycled materials to create a new dancing toy.
On the 3rd day, I introduced the provocation theme of the Olympic Games and the children talked about their civilization creations – Puffies ( LJ ) and Dots ( TK ) and Dodo Birds ( Jack ) . We brainstormed all the games they thought were a part of the Olympic Games. Using that list, they broke off into 2 groups and designed a game that their puffies or dots would play. The dodo-birds joined the puffies because they both were fluffy.Work continued on their scribble bots and bristle bots.
On the 4th & 5th day, the puffies used recycled materials to make a race/obstacle course for their Tech Deck Games. They worked to create Puffies that would ride a motorized tech deck. They learned how to work with all kinds of tape as they used cardboard to create the course. They worked on using a motor to propel their tech deck puffies. They learned that rubber bands could be used as an adhesive tool.
The dots worked on making motorized dodge ball wands that have a “defense whacker” on one end and a motorized ball thrower on the other end. There were many different ideas. Some tried to create a paddle with fabric, others used cups to hold the ping pong ball , others used masking tape to make the cup.
The course got finished. The tech decks need more work. The paddles are almost there. They are trying to figure out how to make the ball fly across the field rather than straight down.
We saw frustration that turned into success. We learned a lot about working together in pairs and in groups of 5. We learned to take charge of a section of a project and how to ask a friend to help when one needed 3+ hands. We practiced Grit when things got tough. We learned that sometimes what seems “impossible” is possible if we slow down our bodies and minds to allow our brain to tell us what it knows. We practiced thinking with our hands – which meant trying something/anything rather than sitting and thinking. We learned that nothing is a failure rather it was something that would lead to another idea. We learned to ask each other “focused” questions – instead of ” What was your favorite part or what was the hardest part?”, we learned to ask a specific question about the other person’s share. We learned to help our teammate when we were done with our part. We came to the realization that our bodies are pretty strong and that we can use power when we use tools. We learned how to safely use tools. We learned that duck tape on someone’s hair is extremely difficult to get off. We learned that tools including tape are never to be used in ways other than intended. We practiced talking about ourselves rather than starting sentences that started with someone else’s name so that we could focus on our role rather than blaming someone else. We worked on not letting our anger get in the way of having fun. We practiced the next step of facilitated conflict resolution by using our words to convey our feelings when we felt wronged rather than “tattle”.
We practiced focusing on a task for almost 2 hours!!
But most of all, we learned that Making and Tinkering is fun!!
PS – in aftercare, there were lots of games created using the zip line and pool noodles, lots of water balloons, slip and slides, pool noodles in the trampoline, basketball, and lots and lots of chess-playing! How great is it that a 7 year old can go from whacking each other with pool noodles and when they get tired, they come inside and play chess! We also learned how to work together with a friend while we make shaved ice. We experimented with marshmallows – blowing them up in the microwave and waiting till they cool down to make candy and using them with toothpicks to make structures that would stand tall, little houses and bridges. We also played giant chess and sometimes just relaxed in the shade.