Hackathon!!

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Mount Vernon had its first ever Hackathon today and it was so much fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There wasn’t a person there that had actually done a Hackathon before (maybe JamCam), yet we all came down ready to hack away at something!

We had two teams, and then our awesome leaders who planned the Hackathon filled in for the third team just for fun. I think that we will get more people to come in the future after we talk about how fun this time was!!!!

Each team got one old desk from the middle school and the challenge was to take it apart and make it into something new.

My team, Robin Sparkles and the Shine, consisted of two of my best friends, my Latin teacher, and myself. After discovering quickly that it would be very hard to take the chair off of the medal part, we decided to make a swing!

I was actually really impressed with what we came up with especially since it supported our body weight with just a small tree and some string we braided together. (We had some intense braiding going on in the last 10 minutes after we got through the design challenge of figuring out what branch would be most sturdy.)

The process to building this swing included: using a power drill to take the desk off, cutting a bunch of string into long strips, hanging on tree branches to test their structure, pulling a car up next to the tree to stand on it to tie knots (lots of boating and Boy Scout skills were used to make some good knots), and then we had to make a design change decision in the last 3 seconds to cut off the foot rest to keep the chair more straight.

We had such a fun time hacking with some teachers and students. Every now and then someone would say “only at Mount Vernon would we do this,” and boy does this make me happy to be at Mount Vernon!!! I saw such great work with all of the mindsets today and it made me so happy!

Every team won a mindset award and my team got the collaborator award because the joke was that the picture for collaborator was exactly what our team looked like trying to figure out how to get the swing on the tree.

If we were to continue working on the swing we would have needed to fix the length of the string connecting the branch to the seat because we forgot to account for it being stretch so it touched the ground after some weight. (But we were just proud it supported any weight at all since we had to make last minute decisions to not triple braid it and get rid of the foot stool, plus the connection from the string to the chair was a little weak thought it was working some.)

Just to hint at the diversity though, the other groups made a grass slide and a marionette puppet with their chair and some prototyping materials. The other thing I would do differently from this time is try to plan more ahead of time so we could bring extra materials that we might need like wheels or something to break medal in this case.

Over all it was a great afternoon and I can’t wait for our next Hackathon next year!!!!

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