Day one of the inaugural MAKE Summer School went superbly well and all the Apprentices worked brilliantly to complete their paper plane launchers and a variety of paper aeroplane designs.
It was such a fun day and all the teachers were very impressed with the positive attitudes of the youngsters and hard work they put in throughout the day.
On arrival the Apprentices received their t-shirts, pencils and name tags and promptly began designing them, helping everyone get to know each other.
Before we had even started the first session a few had undertaken a task set by teaching assistant Lewis, who set a 10 minute challenge to create a vehicle using K’nex – We were mightily impressed with the results!
Once we got stuck into the project work time just flew by and even the fire drill didn’t put the keen Apprentices off their stride! Before we knew it it was break time and the progress made was very promising, especially considering many of the Apprentices had not had any experience of making before. New skills learned in the morning session included: marking out, sawing, sanding, drilling and planing. Planing in particular can be quite tricky yet everyone managed to master this very well.
After the morning session and a well-earned lunch, it was time to start adding personal touches of creativity to the plane launchers. Painting is a fine skill that takes care and patience and one that certainly takes practise. In this project we intentionally let the Apprentices learn from their mistakes (we obviously taught them the basics and suggested they paint a base coat, let it dry then add details later and not to put too much on but we did not over-stress the point) so that when it comes to the other projects they will have more of an appreciation of what we want from them and they can build on their previous experiences.
Letting kids ‘have a go’ is a vital skill for any teacher (adult) and trusting them to do so is key. We must be prepared to allow them to fail if need be (but always be there with a safety net for them!) so that they genuinely learn; more importantly they just want to try it themselves and learn by doing! This is not easy to do as a teacher, and we often feel that we must be saying something or doing something to justify our existence in the class, but often less is more and just letting them take the reins can be more effective.
We intentionally kept all demonstrations to a minimum to allow maximum practical work time and then had a group leader for no more than five Apprentices to ensure that help was always there when required. As you can see the results are pretty good!
While the paint was drying we saw many fantastic paper plane designs (some more successful than others!) and with a few miner alterations to ensure they could be launched effectively the testing was about to begin using the sample launcher. Paper plane making is a serious business and great pride is taken in creating an efficient and effective craft; Alex R did not want to give up the top secret plans to his plane and Lewis M was distraught when Jen tested his and it looped the loop backwards to land on the workshop roof!
Tomorrow we’re making Treasure Boxes and are very much looking forward to it already. If today is anything to go by, we will see even more fantastic creativity from our aspiring young Apprentices as well as the development of more new skills.
Today was the best possible launch for MAKE Summer School and for this group of creative youngsters, the sky really is the limit!