Wednesday, May 09, 2018

creative transformation

On Monday my first, second and third grade students noticed a small wooden car I'd made out of a piece of scrap 2x4 cut in an arched shape. It was utterly simple in design. I had sanded it and added wheels. The students decided they wanted to make the same thing, but it is inevitable that they take a simple design and add their own creative touches but with a bit less sanding.

One girl decided that hers needed holes in the top, so I set up the drill press with a Forstner bit. She drilled as I held the assembled car in the position she wanted. Having holes in the top was not enough. She decided it needed a door on top, complete with a metal hinge. In the finished car, you  can open the lid to gain access to the compartment.

 I need to get more hinges for my students to use, because hinges have become a favorite thing to add to their many constructions. The student wanted a hack saw to cut the hinge shorter than it is, and that may be something we can attend to next week.

The point is simple. The teacher provides materials and a launching point, along with tools and a demonstration of technique. The students can be relied upon to exercise their own creativity.

Friend and craftsman Larry Copas confirmed the value of teaching hands on skills by standing behind the student, hand over hand in the following note:
"I've been stick welding for 50 years now and can do a passable job for a hobbyist. About 30 years ago my young nephew asked me to teach him. He was a terrible student and stuck the welding rod almost every time. I got frustrated as he just could not get it and I could see he was getting frustrated. Than I stood behind, wrapped my arms around him, grabbed his hands and we welded a bead. He was welding in five minutes.

"I've taught several more to weld using the same technique. Something I've noticed is that it creates a special bond between teacher and student."
Make, fix, create and adjust schooling so that others learn lifewise.

1 comment:

  1. The little anecdote from Larry Copas made me think back on when I taught my children how to use a hammer.
    They held onto the shaft of the hammer, and I wrapped my hand around their little hand, and then we could help each other in putting some nails in some soft end grain. As soon as they had the idea and the motoric skills, they would do it by themselves.
    I had made a nailing block out of some 4x4" spruce. all glued together to form something like a butchers chopping block. The top ended up being 12x12". It was attached to some legs that splayed, so it was very stable. A small box for nails was mounted on the side and I made a mounting system for the hammer as well.
    We kept that block inside the house for a couple of years until they were grown up a bit.
    The end grain was so soft that even though they were only something like two years old they were able to hammer in nails.
    It was a huge hit also when they had friends or relatives coming over.

    Thanks for bringing this thing back to my memory.