Tuesday, May 22, 2018


Yesterday at the Clear Spring School we made sling shots. The project began when one boy started making one last week. It was obvious that there were some things about sling shots, based on what I saw him making that he did not understand how they worked or what parts would be required. I asked him where he learned about sling shots and he said, "a video game." I learned that he had never seen a sling shot in real life. He did not know that it required a pouch to hold the object that's to be shot.

I helped him with making a leather pouch, and then helped him to get the rubber bands he had wrapped uselessly on the wood into a useful arrangement. That of course led to the other boys (and some girls) wanting sling shots of their own.

What will we be as a culture when most of our information about life comes in digital doses of meaningless abstraction? Are you folks worried about that?

I am busy writing end of year reports for my students and classes. Today I will begin cleaning the wood shop at the Clear Spring School so that I can turn my attention toward summer classes at ESSA, The Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking, and Marc Adams School of Woodworking.

There are still spaces available in these schools for your participation.

Make, fix, and create. Allow for others to learn likewise.


  1. Hi Doug.

    I find it admirable that the boy decided to try an make a sling shot from only having seen it on a video game.

    Off course it would have been a different matter if he had seen a real one in use.

    But to get the idea at that age - "perhaps this is something that I can make in real life" is impressive.

    I have to say that I admire his perseverance in making something for real. Despite moving into an unknown territory.

    But like you always quote:
    Start with the interest of the child
    Move from the known into the abstract.
    From the simple to the complex.


  2. The boy was certainly deserving of congratulations for having observed the shape of the wooden part of the slingshot, and for the courage to attempt to make it. It interests me moving from the known to the unknown, and that technology is what these kids know, and it is very abstract whereas in an earlier time, what was known to the child was much more basic and fundamental. things are kind of tipped on their heads. But if the child finds joy in learning, all will work out.