Today was a day filled with different kinds of challenges. Isaac came to school with a pair of blacked-out goggles on as an experiment with blindness, which prompted other kids to blindfold themselves. Later in the day they worked on a building challenge to create a structure that could hold the weight of the three collaborators. At the end of the day, everyone (almost everyone!) wrote a sentence or two about what they learned today.
Experimenting with blindness.
Someone wrote, “I learned how to take advantage of a blind Isaac.” In general, though, all the kids were extremely helpful and respectful of Isaac’s challenge. They were at first in disbelief at his blindness, asking “Can you really not see?” before they realized that they had to help him out for the day to be a success.
The beginnings of a strong structure. Lola said, “I holded on to the wood really tight and it almost slipped. It slipped when people were drilling.”
“I learned not to drill with one hand,” Coke said.
Challenges for the day included steadying the structure you were working on so that you could make strong joints.
Kaia said, “I learned how to build a strong and steady structure. I learned not to touch the nail after it’s been drilled cause you’ll get burned like I did today.”
Norabelle said, “I made little foxes and I built a house with it.”
Bruno said, “I learned to make something really strong.”
Logan explained, “I liked making a half raft out of wood. I mean I’m half done with it. I’m really no close to the raft because I only have one paddle down. It is 1 foot thick and 5 inches.”
Some of the boys made small floating rafts with the lightest materials they could find in the supply boxes.
“I learned that Scratch is really complicated,” Henry wrote. He’s been working on learning gaming software for his project.
Hooray! The structure was strong and sturdy enough to hold the weight of Mackenzie, Josh, and Chane! This is really important, as buildings in Kid City have to be strong enough to hold three adults’ weight as well. We talked about all the strong shapes in their structure.
Natasha said, “Finally I had a chance to use the drills. I never knew that I was so strong and could build strong stuff.”
Gever, Ben, Connor, and Isaac returned from Home Depot in San Rafael with a truckload of building materials for Kid City.
Sofia said, “I stayed home from the park.” But she unloaded 2x4s by herself!
Ben wrote in best-guess spelling, “Never coa in farnt,” (Never saw in front of someone).
Zada wrote, “I learned how to make a good declaration.” Gever approved many declarations this afternoon with a red OK.
Audrey said, “I read a lot and I used building magnets. I worked on my declaration and I finished it. I want to open a clothing store. First I’m gonna sell accessories, and then I’ll sell other things.” During aftercare, she and Clementine put on a play about twins running away to NYC to go to acting and karate school.
One student wrote, “I had good teechers to help me doow good thigs.” An example of curriculum prep at Brightworks: Josh painting his feet. I love this school.
With a day of tool use under their belts, the Brightworks kids started getting to work learning more about the materials and sizing requirements they need to build Kid City, as well as their individual projects.
This morning, we talked as a group about the dimensions of the two-story Kid City, with big rooms on the first floor and smaller rooms on the second.
Then they headed over to the foundation and measured out their spaces on the floor. The kids’ houses are going to be huge!
The kids worked on their declarations and made sure they got Gever’s OK stamp so they could move forward with their projects.
After snack it was time to lay down the outlines for Kid City structures.
Some worked on getting certified to use the tools. Audrey explained drilling holes to Chane: “If you slow down the drill at the end, you can get through the hard parts.”
The collaborators presented the kids with a building challenge: construct the tallest free-standing structure possible. The tall structures taught them about making good joints when they build.
Elizabeth did an incredible job teaching the kids to use one-point perspective in drawing. Some used two or even three-point perspective!
Tall structures must have strong joints – or they fall!
At the end of the day, Gever did a quick demonstration of load-bearing physics.
The kids were shocked when the wood broke under stress, but even more impressed when it held!
The beginnings of something amazing.
Friday, day 14, the first last day of the Exploration phase of our very first arc. These first three weeks have flown by faster than Superman and a speeding bullet.
I think we were all a little nervous about how the transition between Exploration and Expression would go, but to our surprise and delight, the kids have taken to creating their own projects with enthusiasm. They started discussing them in their bands, then let their creativity fly as they composed written declarations of their proposed projects.
The collaboration began without any prompting.
The bands bonded after snack and came up with their own names:
the Ssalson Raptors (forgive my spelling, Raptors, and correct me if I’m wrong)
the Rubber Band, (and I forgot the secret name; let’s fix this Monday – if it’s something to share with the world, that is), who had their meeting at the very grown-up Coffee Bar on the corner
and the Flying Fish, with their own hooting call to contact each other across the room.
After a break at the park, the kids returned to work on their murals, declarations, and pipe system.
Josh introduced contaminants to the water pipe system and suggested the kids create a filtration system that would keep out sludge – aka glitter.
They couldn’t figure out a good way to get the water clear again after dye had been added to clear water, but they were able to filter out the glitter. Not too shabby.
Success! Exploration has closed… but now the creative minds of our incredible Brightworks kids will start moving and thinking and making in the next three weeks of Expression. Keep an eye on the blog… you’ll most definitely see some pretty amazing things come up soon.