Summer Making (Part 2) – Woodworking & Installations!

Summer making in the Creativity Lab was wildly successful.  It lasted 5 weeks and taught more lessons than can be contained in one digestible blog post so here are a few bites-sized morsels:

  1. The impact of concentrated making over time on students is visible.  The results include increased confidence, creativity, and resourcefulness.
  2. Talking about what they are making helps students learn how to relate to others and how they are perceived by others, not to mention that it teaches them how to have difficult conversations.  (Communication & Inter/Intrapersonal Skills)
  3. Students do not know their worth in money when asked the value of what they’ve made, but once they do they get a little swagger in their step.  And they take on the teacher role, challenging themselves, the ultimate victory.
  4. Mentors, extra hands, and feedback (a.k.a. critique toned down) are resources to be welcomed and used.
  5. Learning to ask for help, perhaps my favorite silver lining and probably one of the most valuable lessons of all.

Week 4: Woodworking

Stools, boxes, &  chairs!

Pricing Your Furniture (while integrating curriculum)

Juan working with Colin, one of our mentors.

Juan working with Colin, one of our mentors.

I asked Juan what he thought his chair was worth, he said, “$25…”

So I said, “$25 what…?”

And he said, “dollars.”  As I mentioned in lesson 3 (see above), most of our kids don’t know the value of money, let alone the value of handmade furniture.  So I went on to ask how long he had spent building that chair, we worked it out to be about 25 hours, meaning he was charging $1 per hour, without factoring in material costs, labor, and so on.  Ms. Becca (making instructor)   all this and chimed in to add that he’d also neglected to add on a design fee.  In the end the three of us worked out the value of his chair to be somewhere in between $300 and $400.  His face was priceless.

Laser-cut Stamp for Printmaking (tutorial):

The Amazingly Diverse Body of Week 4 Work:

Week 5: Installations

In the final week the kids were asked to create something permanent for their school, a sort of modified-for-the-classroom Design Thinking model.  And so they did…

Curtains, tables, trophy cases, lumber storage, signs, hall-passes, recycling videos, and more!

Ernesto’s Recycling Animation

Ernesto in the midst of editing slash trying to work out a scene.

Ernesto in the midst of editing slash trying to work out a scene.

The kids did stop-motion animation during week 2 and Ernesto (a middle schooler) really took to it.  He decided to make an animation about recycling, as related to the San Francisco Bay Area.

During the editing process Aaron (making instructor, and no, not Mr. V) was working with Ernesto, trying to explain the concept of Context.  Making-teacher breakthroughs are always exciting to see, when recounting it for us after all the classes wrapped up, Aaron said, “I told him that context is the thing that makes you understand, or feel related to, what is happening in the movie.”

Teaching making involves explaining complicated ideas as simply as possible.  And I would say by the final edit, for both Aaron and Ernesto, that was a success.

An Installation of their Installations (or something like that)

One Final (and very important) Matter

HUGE thank you to Becca Rose and Aaron Strauss, our Maker Corps summer making instructors without you, this would not have been possible. 

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About Jessica Gray Schipp

An obsessive documenter, by nature.