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Cardboard Automata With High School Explainers

07
Oct/14

Hi my name is Mario and I'm the tinkering studio intern. I work closely with The Tinkering Studio and High School Explainers. I help lead workshops alongside the High School Explainers.
This past Summer, high school explainers have taken over the tinkering studio on the weekends. Last weekend we facilitated cardboard automata for the first time. We did an amazing job. On both days we had different results. Automata needs more attention and help because each automata is different, sometimes it's the motion and sometimes it's the story you're trying to tell at the top. With all the workshops, we've learned there's no one set in stone way of doing things, it's all based on trial and error. This was one of the things that we had to understand first as facilitators because most of us are still in high school and for some reason there's this institutionalized way of thinking that the teacher tells us what to do and how to do it their way and if we don't and we fail then that's bad. But here in the Tinkering studio we encourage people to march to the beat of their own drum and we will be here to help if they need anything.
Helping out with Automata
We used some tips that we learned from the Tinkering studio staff members in our workshop. One of them is just being friendly and introducing yourself, remembering names goes along away too even if they're only there for an hour or an hour and a half, or remembering ideas people wanted to do. Also since it was our first time we facilitated this workshop, we put out examples that weren't so complex. Examples that were easy for us to explain what's going on. We did not limit their automata though, and some of the times they wanted to do something different from the examples and the facilitator as well as the visitor had an awesome learning experience.
automata hse
A really big challenge we faced was the age limit. We had an age limit of twelve and up, ten with parental supervision. One of the main reasons why we choose twelve is because we had hot glue gun stations and we did not want children harming themselves. We had a lot of people come up with their kids who were not ten telling us that that their child knows how to handle a hot glue gun but we had to be strong and turn them away. At one point throughout the day our workshop space was empty and we used our best judgment to let in kids who were younger. The problem with this was when a parent walked by and we would see younger children they would point that out to us and say it wasn't fair and that we should let their child in too. Therefore we were bombarded with a bunch of little kids in the workshop. Having kids in a workshop is not a bad thing but it's much harder because most of the time it's the adults telling us their children want to do it but they don't, and we basically end up making it for them. We learned that we have to be stricter on our age policy. In the next upcoming weeks I'll be letting you guys know what's going on.

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