On Wednesday, I told Thomas I thought it was time to nail up some pulleys, and he agreed. I go to Thomas with these things because he likes to be an integral part of making greatness.
I picked out three shiny pulleys and he scrounged around the workbench area for a couple of 3" nails, a 2.5", and several shorter ones, which we put in a yoghurt container. We then went hunting for a likely place to install a 3-pulley system.
I said, "Pulleys lift something from a lower area to a higher area."
This is a great theory and a terrific reason for a pulley system, but when you instead start with pulleys, as opposed to starting with a need for them, it can be a challenge to have a pulley system make sense. Ours does not.
Since the pulleys needed to be "up high" we agreed that I should do the hammering, while Thomas was in charge of the nails. We bickered about where the nails ought to go, but finally settled on 3 trees. Thomas wound up driving in a fourth nail "in case we need it for later."
"We have a pulley! Guys! We have a pulley!"
So we now have a bucket that can be raised and lowered, remotely, via pulley, to no particular purpose.
I hope this picture illustrates what we built. The red-shirted boy is pulling the rope. You can
see it goes up into the tree, then across to the left, through two more pulleys, then down to
the bucket in the lower left part of the picture, at which the other boy is pointing.
Since tomorrow is the final day of our summer program, the whole apparatus will likely come down, but I suppose we'll leave the nails up there for future hanging purposes, perhaps even again including pulleys.
This is one of those times I'm really glad I was taking pictures. Look at the boys racing to the bucket in the picture above. I don't know what was happening, but something clearly needed to go into or come out of the bucket. Or maybe it was stuck and they launched themselves into the project. This, while two other boys keep the bucket steady from their distant locations. No one is telling any of them what to do. They are just doing it.
Look at that! We got the bucket up into the branches!
This was a project for a small group of kids working together.
At one point they were chanting, "Heave ho, heave ho . . ." as they hoisted the bucket, in which they'd arbitrarily stashed a wooden boat, a ceramic frog, and several shovels of sand. "Heave ho." No one told them to say that, but they knew not only how to say it, but also why to say it.
I love this picture. Three of the boys are concentrating on backing up in
unison, while one is keeping an eye on the bucket.
I'm pretty sure that kids who have lots of experience doing things like this are having the kind of educational experience that will lead them to do well in life. Playing with the other people: that's the only way to make greatness.
"Heave ho, heave ho . . ."