Someone once said, “If you can engage students, you can teach anything.”
What better way to engage a group of eighth grade STEM students than to hand them power tools and an electric guitar kit! The Lovinggood STEM program is doing exactly that as part of their sound waves unit. As a result, student engagement is outstanding and student knowledge is enhanced, especially as these lessons cross over into the language arts curriculum, emphasizing both writing and presentation standards. For example, students completed an application for the job they wanted to perform on their four-student team; choices included two builders, a 3-D technician and designer, and a historian/videographer. After the teams were created, it was time to build, design, collaborate, report, and problem-solve.
All this required both physical and mental work on the part of the students, but it also required extensive planning and assistance on the part of the teachers. In addition to the two classroom teachers (science and ELA), professionals from the community were brought in to help, along with a music graduate student and the on-staff guitar teacher. These individuals contributed their expertise at each of the work stations.
Stations were arranged to allow team discussions and a building safe zone, as well as a drill press area, hand-held drill use, soldering, fret cutting and assembly. Worth noting are the hands-on skills students learned through the supervised use of these pieces of equipment. Further planning involved the blending of two classes into one, which allowed for a nearly two-hour time slot of uninterrupted work.
This STEM project is hands-on, beneficial and very much engaging! The final product- our guitars- will be performed on April 22, 2019 at the Lovinggood STEM Night Celebration (Earth Day). Come see us and listen to the music of a promising sound waves cross-curricular unit of study.
Science Teacher, Lovinggood Middle School