Gever Tully started a Tinkering School for kids, an exploratory curriculum designed to teach kids how to build the things they think of. By exploratory he means setting kids loose in a shop full of tools and materials (with supervision) and encouragement to “fool around”. In his wonderful TED talk, Tully describes the “deep internal realization” kids have from the experience, which happen to be the same ones you get (at any age) from improvising:
“that you can figure things out as you fool around”…
…nothing turns out as planned – ever…
…all projects go awry…
…success is in the doing (failures are celebrated and analyzed; problems become puzzles)…”
As I watched Tulley’s talk, I thought: I want to go there! I want a tinkering school for grownups!
Then I stumbled on an article in the New York Times about Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Vermont which IS for adults. It teaches both design and construction, with a focus on “natural building”, to people of all ages and experience levels. The course offerings are vast; they are based on three scales of the design/build process: Whole Buidlings and Communities (large); Materials, Methods and Building Systems (medium); and Architectural Craft and Woodworking (small scale). Here’s a sampling:
Deconstruction & Material Re-Use
Ply Like and Eagle
Fabric Formed Concrete
Rigging Rolling & Raising
Thinking Like a Mountain
Do-It-Yourself Home Energy…
…in addition to basic carpentry, plumbing, electrical, powertools…welding…
Yestermorrow encourages you to envision, design and build cool things, like the wheelchair-accessible treehouse (above).
What would you build if you could?
What great thing has tinkering lead you to create?