Wednesday, May 06, 2009

chess sets

You can see that our fifth and sixth grade chess sets are almost complete.
The Blue Whale is almost complete, having received its skin of blue tarp today as you can see in the photos above and below.


  1. Is the BLUE WHALE to be "shrink wrapped" somehow? That is an interesting concept for the outer skin of the boat. How would you do that???

    Just curious, as I am VERY interested in building a boat some day...sooner than later! Have looked at various outer surfaces, including lapstrake (which seems a time-consuming process), and your blue tarp looks like it might be a good solution...

    Cheers from a stormy and rainy North Carolina :)

  2. PS the chess sets look exquisite. How many sets did the students make? Will you do an oil finish or something else? The learning experiences for your students through this project alone are enormous, including the very creative designs. Might you take pix of the individual pieces close up so we can see their shapes and designs? That would be most interesting...thanks, Doug...

  3. I don't know how the tarp material would react to heat. Maybe it would shrink. I'll have to try it.

    I don't regard the tarp as being anything but quick and easy. I could pull it off and cover with other materials, or we can wear out one tarp after a season and replace it. I would have chosen silver side out, and the students overruled me. As a result, the "silverfish" became the "blue whale." It was fun to see the kids so excited about it and I know it will be something they remember from their year at Clear Spring School.

    Of course, the easiest way to build a lasting boat is with plywood. I wanted to do this one because the design started with the half-model and I wanted the students to learn something about traditional boat design, not just how to make a traditional boat.

  4. JD, I know you have been short on rainfall for a long time. Are you starting to catch up? The storms aren't much fun, but the rain must be nice. Here in Arkansas, we has severe flooding last year, and this year, it just keeps on raining each day. We are hoping that we don't repeat last year.

  5. Ah, I see. There is "shrink wrap" material that folks use to wrap their boats in the winter time, and maybe that would be a solution. It is actually shrunk around the boat with a heat gun.

    Well, they have surely learned LOTS about boat making, that's for sure...isn't it fun to see students get excited about something they have a vested interest in! I've only had a chance to observe that on a few occasions in my long career as an educator, but those are the times that I remember the most vividly. Students really DO get excited about learning....until we beat it out of them :(((

  6. Yes, we were short for a long while, although I'm not sure we are currently in that situation. Regardless, the rain is always welcome (in moderation, of course :) and my back yard is particularly grateful :)

  7. JD, on the chess sets, we made 8. One for each student one for the teacher and one for me. I had to do a lot of the work on this project because so much of it involved the table saw. But the designs came from classroom discussion. It was a real interesting collaboration, and the best part is that the students have become very interested in playing chess.

    We will do an oil finish.