Friday, November 29, 2013

9:36 PM

Girls, to build a spaceship. Girls, to code the new app. Girls, to grow up knowing that they can engineer that... 

I don't  know if my daughter will grow up to be an engineer, but she will definitely grow up knowing that it is a choice that she has.  We are all for the games and toys that encourage spatial reasoning, engineering skills, and design creativity.  Also, when given the chance, we seize the opportunity to take that learning out of doors and apply it towards a family do-it-yourself project that really teaches hands-on engineering and general life skills.  Projects to date have included making our own art table stools, fixing a broken door, taking apart a computer hard drive, and building a new garden.  These projects have entailed several trips to the supply store, lots of time, and the willingness to share the work with small, unskilled hands.  The finished product is always better for the shared experience and the self-satisfaction shared by all who participated, even if the final finish isn't totally smooth.

The latest in our effort to create a fun, imaginative play space in our garden was the idea to build a small foot bridge over the "river" we had created through our "orchard".  After searching the web for bridges we could buy (very expensive and the wrong size), and watching a couple of YouTube videos, we decided that we would just build the bridge ourselves, using 2X4s, 1X4s, rented saws (a table saw and a jigsaw), and lots of screws.  My husband grew up doing these kinds of projects with his father and brothers and so acted as team leader in this effort, with three other pairs of willing hands (of various sizes).  Below is a little photo journal of the project:

Measuring the Wood Presented Lots of Opportunities for Helping and 5YO-Level Math
Advanced Trigonometry Was Used to Design the Bridge - Lots of other Pieces of Scrap Wood Needed to be Drawn on as well.

Cutting it With a Table Saw (Rented) - All the Cut Pieces Needed to be Sorted and Stacked and Moved and "Surfed" on Many Times
The Bridge Starts to Take Shape - Notice The Shims That Our Helper Placed Between the Boards to Keep the Gaps Even.
Screw Sorting and Drilling
The Inaugural Walk
Finishing the Railings in the Darkness.
Sanding Project

Bridge Testing from MommyTasker on Vimeo.

It Works!

As Zen as it Gets Around Here

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  1. That's awesome. Looks like Mike was definitely having fun with the power tools! I like it.