Shared Goals and New Tools - Computational Creatures 1.1

Today was the first day of week one of our computational creatures summer camp that we're running this summer in collaboration with Tinkering School in San Francisco. We had a lot of fun with our intial two projects and are looking forward to a great week of experiments with art, technology and programming. 

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We started the day with a discussion of the main goals of the week that we adapted from Tinkering School (collaborate and make friends, try harder than usual, experiment with art and science, and make mistakes and learn from them). We also brainstormed a group agreement that included taking care of yourself, not hurting others, listening to each other, asking questions and testing out ideas even if you don't think they will work. 


Reflection is super important for the tinkering process and so for the first activity we created journals for campers to write down new ideas, questions and document their work. For the covers we used iron to 'fuse plastic' to create new fabric-like designs with unique patterns. 


The activity also gave tinkerers the chance to try out some new tools. Besides the irons used to melt the plastic, we practiced with exacto blades to straighten the edges of the covers and sewing needles and thread to insert the pages into the journals. Later in the day when we built art machines we also learned how to use awls, wire strippers and snips. 


After lunch we started working on art machines built with hobby motors, AA batteries and recycled bodies. There were lots of ambitous ideas and each tinkerer had their share of proud moments and epic frustration. We'll return to these ideas later in the week when we work on programmable art machines (twisted turtles) that use micro:bit to control movements and sensing. 


And of course a large collaborative testing area was a great chance for tinkerers to share their projects and reflect on the process. We always love to create ways to make individual creations connect to each other so that we can learn from each other. 

We're looking forward to the rest of the week and will continue to post pictures and stories about the tinkering process!