There is a long day ahead of us. Kids are not going home at 5 PM like usually, but rather staying for an evening camp fire picnic and then adventurous sleeping in tents. The weather forecast is favourable – the night is supposed to be hot, so I hope everything goes well… But let’s keep the storytelling in order, shall we?
The kids came this morning all packed for our today’s overnight stay. The bags with tents were just too tempting for kids it to leave them packed. And they wouldn’t by tinkerers if they couldn’t build their own tent.
“And this pole, were does it fit?”
In a moment there is a whole tent city spread out under the walnut tree. Even city upon a city - Michael and Mathias build their tenant upon an anthill.
The tents needed to be tested immediately.
Then we eventually got to our project of the day. Our aim was to build a vehicle on wheels that we could safely ride on from in front of the house down to a linden tree at the base of a mild hill. Such "transporter" must have three or more wheels and an obligatory break.
First we discussed various conceptual designs of constructing individual parts. While doing it, Yuri managed to play a shadow theatre about a vicious snake.
Everyone offered ideas and descriptions how it could work. If only we could cut it out of the paper and drive it.
I complemented their ideas with some practical hints on how to actually build it.
Thomas is hesitating - none of the conventional designs is to his liking. Little later he will demonstrate again his innovative design thinking.
We moved from sketches on paper to real-life examples. Mathias brought a toy car with a steering mechanism similar to that of a real car. However, this design turned out to be to complicated for now.
we move to the attic to our warehouse and looked at all the material we have available for the project: "anything you find lying around and I let you use it".
from wooden beams, to various wheels, plywood of different thicknesses, to metal hinges ...
Back in the yard kids started to put their ideas about their vehicles on paper. Ema and Pavla came with this grandiose idea of a pedal powered three-person vehicle with a braking system in the centre of the floor and other great features.
This is how it's going to look like. They even created their own new brand (Watch out for EP branded cars - soon in car dealerships near you!)
Mathias and Michael are thinking what from what Rastio was talking about could actually be used.
Their design is more down to earth. But in their minds they have more ideas that they are able to draw. I helped them a little to put their ides on paper.
ForThomas everything is clear …
“it will have four wheels steering wheel and the seat. Which part of that you don't understand?”
Wheel size is part of the specification and we must not forget a rear mirror, too.
Mario with Yuri are discussing the details.
They are considering several alternatives and structural designs. Six-wheel alternatives didn't make it through the first round of the selection.
I let each team to explain the idea, pointed out some challenges their proposed design and we were ready to get to work. " You grab this thing here, turn it this way and when this popped out this thing here will engage. Am I right?
Pavla and Emma started with what they have known so well - building a seat, ...
… Mario and Yuri started with removing sharp edges …
... and Mathias with Michael somehow couldn't get going. The project turned out to be too complicated. Only later we realised that although kids have had experience with joining plywood with wooden blocks, they have yet to learn to use different kind of joints, combine various materials, screws of different lengths, drill holes, etc. Jane and I were forced to put the camera away and start helping the kids and explain how to go about the project.
Eventually, things got moving again, but since everyone needed assistance we were progressing only very slowly.
The girls abandoned the pedals and driver's seat idea and reduced it to a two-person bench. The break in the middle of the floor took them a lot of time to build, but they were very proud of it.
Thomas eventually decided to use a steering column from an old scooter instead of front wheels. The granddad helped him to attach the wheels, but the rest of it were all his ideas.
By the end of the day we managed to complete the first vehicle. third test pilot with his service team are going to test a prototype on the race course.
the first test drive, for now without mandatory breaks, was a success. The happy owner blinded by the setting sun ( or a blaze of spotlights) is enjoying the win in his hair.
We put the unfinished vehicles under the roof, said goodbye to Mathias who had to leave because of his tomorrow's biking race and went to barbecue. Before the amber is big enough Pavla and Emma are reading newspapers: "What? A panda in China put its paw in a can and now it doesn't know how to get it out!"
Michael is amusing himself with whittling a vampire stake. One never knows when such a thing comes in handy, especially if you are sleep in a tent alone.
While other kids are roasting their sausages and bacon, Michael keeps whittling his peg. By what appears to be ritual moves of a seasoned samurai, he is trying to send the whittles directly to the fire. I thing it's a bad day for vampires tonight.
With our stomachs full it was time to have fun again. I don't remember whether it was the stick or a piece bread burning on the stick, but it left nice colorful trace. A great introduction to our tonight's project - light painting.
I put my camera on a tripod, set the speed to 10 seconds and we were ready to experiment. First only hesitantly, just one kid in front of the camera ...
… with various torches and lights.
With kids having seen the first pictures, now everyone wanted to leave their mark.
We tried various light sources and various paths. After each experiment kids immediately ran to the camera to see what they have created.
By lighting our faces we created these ghosts.
Later on we got into more sophisticated patterns and lighting methods. A laser pointer turned out to be very cool.
We also tried to light-paint our lashed hacienda.
“Who's nibbling at my gingerbread house?”
When water meets fire they produce ball of lightning.
A special type of yet undeciphered torch script.
Watch out, Batman Ema returns.
Time to go to bed. Good night and colorful dreams.
There is another challenging day ahead of us tomorrow. The last one in this session. And after a one day break, six more days with another group of children.