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Unsure how to even describe the problem (An Australian cattle car? a downhill trackless train?) we dove right into one of the most complicated and finicky projects we have ever worked on. This week saw Tinkering School’s first simulation of rack and pinion steering. We also invented a lever based form of steering we don’t know the name of. Our wheels turned like car wheels instead of wagon wheels. Behind each of these steering cars a series of complicated linkages allowed dependent cars to track behind smoothly and predictably.

However, all of these feats of cleverness and ingenuity play second fiddle to, and merely act as evidence of, the real goals of Tinkering School; Teamwork, persistence, independence, risk taking, trial and error and exposure to the unknowns of genuine problem solving (to name a few). This week kids faced major setbacks and frustrations and faced them with courage and persistence. They made space for new friends, included even the most ardent loners, and were kind and forgiving to the silliest mistakes and gaffs. They built a thing they were proud of, and loved the people they were building with.

Read the story in order.

Day 1 – Intros, Tools, The Project

Day 2 – It begins

Day 3 – A Train Takes Shape

Day 4 – Restful Exhaustion

Day 5 – Tinkering

Day 6 – Cohesion

Day 6 & 7 – Improvements, Hubris, Destruction and Deconstruction

P.S. – A Map of the Action