The workshop is fully subscribed and to make sure everyone feels supported we have a 1:4 adult to child ratio plus the Techie Teen who has come to teach soldering, this time to the kids.

We start with an ice breaker game outside and then come in to play with various props to build on the kids’ existing understanding of electricity and circuits. Everyone works very well together.

Next, we get screwdrivers and paints out and the kids construct and decorate their models. They help each other and take turns with tools, then disappear to the outdoor learning area to gather around Napoleon the Cob Oven for lunch. We break for a full hour to allow a full helping of fresh air and movement before the final and hardest challenge of the day: creating the circuit and fitting it onto their mini-Steve.

Each child has a booklet to work through at their pace but mostly, they prefer to progress together. They learn about different ways of connecting wires, about volts and amps and how to take a reading with a volt meter. At a simple level, we talk through the pretty complicated parts of their system.

Techie Teen sits at a separate table and teaches soldering one-on-one: “I’ll do the first one, you do the second.” He is very calm and encouraging; even the youngest participant (8) manages to solder a connection. Faces shine.  

The participants learn about battery safety and short circuits – nobody makes one. In fact the workshop is remarkably free of mishaps, probably because the Mentors made all of them before the day.

One at a time, they rush to the windows to see their little charge light come on. Everyone leaves happy, with a working system and notes on how to easily improve on it if they would like more power.

We think we are ready to properly plan Steve now.

Day 7: The Workshop

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