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Tinkering School

The Blog of the Sleep-Away Program at Elkus Ranch – Updated every night during camp

Category / 2012 Session 4 – Middlers

Day Three – Getting Things Done

Tuesday Night, Day 3, August 14th

Gever is up early today, awakened by fragments of design solutions to the problems they encountered yesterday. He gets a mumbled “Is it time to get up?” from one of the boys in the boys dorm, but they are fast asleep again before he can answer. He sets out the breakfast buffet of cereal, yogurt, bagels, toaster, and all the fixin’s, before the house is awake. He desperately needs someone to talk to about the ways the wheel mountings for the luge capability on the car can be done – but the place is stubbornly peaceful. Time for a walk. Outside, the morning sun lights up a beautiful sky.

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Day Two – Rolugester

Monday Night, Day 2, August 13th

“Rolugester” (pronounced row⋄luge⋄ster) is not a word that rolls easily off the tongue, nor is it a word that you might use on a daily basis – unless you happen to be with us here at Session 4. You see, we aim to build a hybrid roller coaster that can start on precision rails and smoothly (and with some velocity) transition to a plywood luge track which the passenger must steer through. Roller Coaster + Luge = Rolugester.

The day started with a quick walk down to the creek to check in on an experiment that was set up at the creek. After observing that the crawdads would eat the salami off of a grape without touching the grape itself, we wondered if they didn’t like grape or if they just liked salami so much that they wouldn’t a grape if salami was present. To test this latter hypothesis, it was decided that we would leave four grapes, three intact and one smushed, in the creek and give the crawdads twelve hours without salami to distract them from the delicious fruit. At breakfast, the tinkerers made guesses about what would be found at the creek; all grapes eaten, some grapes eaten, or no grapes eaten. The opinions were pretty well balanced between the three choices.

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Day One – Down to the River

Four sessions into the summer, I can say, without equivocation, that every session is different. Each group of tinkerers manages to differentiate themselves in social dynamic, innate interests, and skills they are bringing to the camp. As sometimes happens, we had a bit of a hiccup with the cameras today, so we’re a little light on photographic evidence (which is unfortunate because we saw Bigfoot).

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We heard from the Ranch Manager that crawdads had been spotted in the creek, so we head down the road past the lovely fall colors (which are all poison oak). Continue Reading

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