Friday, February 15, 2013

A Tinkering Story

Each summer our school's lower school (i.e. elementary) chooses a Summer Book Read.  This past summer was The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Young Readers Edition.  Have you read this story, or about William Kumkwamba?  He is just your ordinary young man who did an extraordinary thing:  He created a windmill using scraps of this, that and the other, a lot of hard work and some research, to bring electricity to his village and thus helped his village in a time of great hardship.  It is truly an inspiring story!

Our lower school director tries to use the Summer Read as a spring board for other activities.  Early this year, she showed a short video story about another boy, Caine, who created an arcade using only cardboard and his imagination.  It's called Caine's Arcade.
Caine's Arcade from Nirvan Mullick on Vimeo.
(It's 11 minutes, but so cute.)

That video was the set-up for Tinkering Day #1: Cardboard Challenge.  Lots of people donated cardboard and the kids were sent out to just create.  They worked with friends, book buddies, working across the grade levels.  It was really hard work sometimes because as we all know, cardboard isn't easy to cut or hold together.  I wasn't sure what their response would be, but they had the best day and really loved it.

The next month was Tinkering Day #2: Wood Challenge.  They had various sizes and shapes of wood and wood glue.  Again, working cross-age, with friends and buddies, they created whatever they wanted.  Again, a huge success.

This past week was Tinkering Day #3:  Various Object Challenge (sorry, I'm sure that's not the official title, but I'm not sure what it was called exactly!).  The kids were given marshmallows (all sizes, gum drops, toothpicks, and straws.  With those objects only, they set out to create.

DSC_0247
Puck came home with his because his partners had dogs who they were afraid would eat it.  (Hmmm....foreboding feeling coming on....)

and Scamp came home with one of his groups projects. 
DSC_0246

With Adam being gone this weekend, I told them they could keep them at the house until Sunday night so he could see them and I made sure to take photos of them so we could remember them.  But I also made sure they knew we would have to throw them away.

Ruby quickly showed a surprising interest in the marshmallows (what cat eats marshmallows?? I swear this cat was raised by dogs, she certainly thinks she is one!) and so I had to keep her away from it by putting it up high.  Of course, we all know heights aren't a problem when it comes to cats, but I had to try.

You can all see where this is headed, right?

Monday morning, I put the creations on the table to go out to the trash, but before I could finish the job, I left the room, the cat and dog must have worked together, got the creations off the table where they proceeded to eat every scrap of edible item.  Yeesh.  I was just thankful to find what I hope was most of the plastic straws and wooden toothpicks at the top of the steps where Winnie must have taken her treat to eat.

The lesson in all of this is:  if your child brings home anything edible in the form of a creation, snap the photo and then toss it immediately.

Please don't be like me, learn from my mistakes.

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