Construction in forms large and small framed this day. The older kids spent the morning constructing the frames of the two-story Kid City while the the younger kids headed to San Francisco General Hospital’s construction site just a few blocks away from our little school. Mix in a little paint and you have a day.
The foundation at the hospital went down three stories! Aidan assured me that this “isn’t too deep,” but they saw the crane moving things around so fast!
Setting out 2x4s back at the school.
Zada helped align the wood for strong joints and a steady Kid City frame.
Connor concentrated on the task at hand.
Theo helped Audrey with her play and assured me he would soon know the secrets of time travel (right, Theo?)
A quick break at the park before the younger kids came hurrying back to school.
After lunch, Kaia prepared her feet for a record in strides.
Coke took a break to read in the library – now located in the office area, thanks to Melanie and Kristie’s hard moving work.
Gever worked with Henry on some gaming code and Isaac wrote more in his tale of zombie mayhem, while Stewart and Theo continued to explore the world.
What can you discover from the footsteps of the kids at Brightworks?
Jennie – our friend and carpentry and kids’ tool education extraordinaire – showed Audrey how to use the chop saw.
Kai helped Mei stabilize her sawing so she could start building a table for her flower shop.
Logan started to construct submarine that will never sink.
Ben had plans of his own…
Clementine and Jennie work on sturdy joints on a shelf for Clementine’s Kid City shop.
Connor and Ben measure on the diagonal to square the frames for stability.
Setting the frames upright.
An experiment in tracing footsteps gone to the extreme – paint everywhere!
Quinn composed a poem for Sofia after she fell in the paint slide:
We’re painting a painting for painting the painting.
A painting was painting a painting.
She was a painting that was painting a painting.
She was painting who was painting a painting of painting that a painting can painting so well.
“Brightworks,” Josh said, “is where clean clothes go to die.”
Norabelle, Zada, Kaia: you’ve proven this correct. It will not be the last time.
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.
We’re all really excited over here at Brightworks because the first day of the Expression phase has come! The kids are so ready to break out the screws and wood and start building their city and working on their very first projects for what we know will be a huge portfolio of work someday. But we start small, with one project at a time: it’s all in the doing.
Anthony and Camille worked all day Sunday to lay down the foundation for Kid City in the corner of the school.
When the Brightworks students arrived Monday morning, it was all tools, all the time. Everyone grabbed eye and ear protection and traveled between three different stations to practice using the tools that will soon become their extra limbs during Expression and beyond.
Inside, they drilled holes and drove screws with Chane and Sean.
With Mackenzie, they sawed pieces of scrap lumber with handsaws.
Outside on the sidewalk, they practiced hammering nails with Josh. While nails aren’t the joiner of choice at Brightworks – they’re too hard to remove – it was an excellent exercise. We calculated that the 20 Brightworks kids used more screws in a matter of hours than 150 kids used at Maker Faire earlier this year.
Every day the space that Brightworks lives in changes – some days more dramatically, others more subtly. It’s always exciting to see what new piece of artwork will go up on the walls, how the room dividers will be arranged, what kind of lunch table we’ll be sitting at… now we’re excited to see the changes in the buildings that go up and the changes in how our students treat tools and start to learn their secrets as they discover their abilities to build big!
Remember to check out more photos on Flickr!