'Rock star' course for high school teachers




Posted on September 14, 2011 at 10:34 AM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 14 at 10:39 AM

LYNNWOOD, Wa. -- A new method of teaching is rocking it's way into Washington schools - only it's teachers who are getting a lesson in science, technology, engineering and math.

The unique program is hosted by the National Resource Center for Materials Technology Education (MatEd) at Edmonds Community College before school starts. Only 16 teachers from around Washington were picked to be a part of the workshop.

Mike Addington, a teacher from Arlington High School, was chosen.

"I feel like I'm in heaven get cause I'm getting to make the guitar. Even though I've played for a long time, the understanding that I've gotten about the frets how it's put together little mistake here causes a mistake in other places it's really really exciting," said Addington.

In five days, teachers at the workshop will build electric guitars and learn how different materials can be used to create various sounds and looks. They will also learn ways to integrate science, technology, mathematics, engineering and chemistry concepts into their classrooms.

"As a country we're way behind in science and math," said Mike Aikens, the workshop instructor.

Aikens, a professor at a community college in Pennsylvania, has watched this hands-on course strike a cord with teachers and students.

"When you have students that are engaged you have its much easier to teach them," said Aikens.

And the pay-off: building their own custom guitars. The electric guitars are worth anywhere from $300 - $2,000

"They always say, 'When am I ever going to use this, what I am going to do with this.' This shows them what they're going to do with it," said Lane Winsor, a Pasco High School teacher.

Teachers walk away with a cool instrument and a rock star course for the new school year. This pilot workshop is paid for by a national science group.

So far nearly, 100 teachers have taken part in this guitar-building workshop across the country. The nearest workshop in our area is held at Edmonds Community College.

Organizers say a second workshop has been approved for December 5 at the EMP.

For more information check out materialseducation.org.