Zoe likes to build things. Hence our excitement that her public middle school has managed to retain something resembling a shop class.
(A minor miracle in these days of endless budget cuts. Next thing you know, they’ll be bringing back slate and chalk for all the kiddos.)
The teacher is pretty hands off, letting the kids do what they want — from building worlds in Minecraft, to using GarageBand to put together a soundtrack, to creating three dimensional models of real buildings in Google Sketchup for budding architects, to making wooden nameplates. (I picture them creating signs such as “This is my room, stay out!”)
The real action, and the gory stories, are with the power tools though. Zoe loves to tell the one about a kid hopping on the power equipment when a substitute teacher was leading the class (supposedly happened years ago), and getting injured. I’m not sure if it’s true, but the potential for grievous bodily harm is apparently irresistible when you are in 7th grade, and they all love to complain about subsequent band saw and sanding restrictions when substitutes are in residence.
A sampling of Zoe’s work this semester:
- A bird house for my Dad’s 70th birthday! Pictured below.
- A toy wooden car…sort of an old fashioned dragster.
- A desk jockey for her, and a desk jockey for me (gift for Mother’s Day). An example of the jockey is pictured below. She heated, bent and sanded the plastic so it was smooth; cut, beveled, sanded and finished the wooden base; and then attached all the accoutrement!
- A freaking awesome longboard. I think this is the whole reason she was excited about taking the class in the first place. And, we had to sign a waiver of liability in order for her to make just the skate deck!
After Zoe made the board, she raced home and immediately ordered trucks and fat longboard wheels. When they came in, she grabbed the drill, installed it all, and took it outside…only to discover she put the trucks on backward. If she leaned the board to the left, it would turn right, and vice versa! It was hilarious watching her try to ride it anyway. (Talk about exercising your brain.)
She eventually gave up on her backward board, took another pass at truck installation, and voila, she had a fully functional, fantastically fearsome, longboard.