Thursday, June 3, 2010


Man, six weeks with my homeschooling tinkering group just flew by! I can't believe I never managed to write about any of it until now. This class was the class of my dreams. This homeschooling mom, Christie Shore, came to the Gever Tulley talk and approached me about doing a class in her yard with her kid and others. So almost immediately after my experience with Gever I got to dive right in to using all the ideas and inspiration I received during his visit... with a group that was completely informed and on board with the true tinkering technique, to boot. It has been SO incredibly fun... I just can't tell you how much more fun and relaxing it is to 'teach' this way as compared to what I have done before.... there's just no stress about having to draw kids in to what you are desiring them to be interested in.... you just bring in an array of materials and tools and an idea, and then roll with what they come up with. It is a beautiful thing to see the level of engagement and excitement that they have... and the problems they are able to solve, all on their own... and the things they are able to dream up and build.... yes I AM amazed at what children can do, and getting more amazed all the time.
These are just a few very not-so-good pictures I was able to snap in the midst of all the making.... I really need to get someone else to take some pictures for me of all these goings-on, 'cause it's really difficult for me to record these events when I'm elbow-deep in PVC pipes and kids running around with power drills, etc. A few of these pictures are from a day that we made a really fun marble run. I got a bunch of lengths of 1" PVC pipe and sliced it lengthwise on the tablesaw at Eric Billig's shop (Eric who is, by the way, one of the most innovative tinkerers that I know, totally pushing the boundaries of what can even be done with his chosen medium....). Then I just brought a whole bunch of mungo, marbles big and small, and also golf balls, and we all went to town. I thought this was a great project because it really could be a lot of fun for almost any age.... I know my 2 year old was having a lot of fun with it.
This next project, the boat building project, was actually done with some kids in my new summer series of drop-in tinkering classes (and there's still lots more of these to come, if you're interested). This project was straight-up borrowed from Gever (I'm pretty sure he'd say that was A-OK... at least I hope so... his blog is SUCH a gold-mine of exciting ideas and inspiration) and it seemed straight-forward enough, but I was pretty nervous going into it. It was another new experience for me, as I hadn't met the kids before that were coming to the class AND it was working on a bigger scale than I had worked on before. It ended up working out BEAUTIFULLY even though even more kids turned out than I had expected. The class of homeschoolers was mainly 6-7 year olds and this class had a bunch of 8-11 year olds who showed up and just went to TOWN without ANY help from me. They were so amazing. There were a few of the younger tinkerers from the previous class there and I think it was really cool for them to get to see what the bigger kids could do. Anyway, we have made a date to take them down to the creek tomorrow morning... I think we're all quite excited about that.


Sherry and Donna said...

Wow Kami. So much teamwork! So much learning! SO MUCH FUN!!
Donna :) :)

jenny @ let the children play said...

I love everything you are doing with the tinkering school Kami - so inspiring.

Teacher Tom said...

So did the boat get in the water? I've got to know!

What a cool post, Kami. I can tell you're excited because it got into me while I read the post! =)

I've got a couple of 5-year-olds who are fired up about building a scarecrow tomorrow, I'll see if it can carry your excitement into our project.