The Guitar Building Institute, also known as the STEM Guitar project, is regularly mentioned here on AM News because they continue to move STEM forward in exciting ways. Sinclair Community College Professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology, Tom Singer, and his team are busy around the USA teaching educators about using guitar building to teach STEM to middle and high school students.
You can read more about their special events for U.S. Military veterans in our 2018 post: Guitar Building For Veterans In Puget Sound.
The STEM Guitar project was first awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant in 2008 and its first classes started in 2009. As they celebrate their first full decade in operation, more than 800 STEM educators have participated in the five day workshops held all around the USA.
According to a recent post in the SME “Humans of Manufacturing” series, in which Tom Singer was profiled, “Students across the country have designed and manufactured 10,000 guitars. STEM teachers from 40 states have either gone through a Guitar Building Institute course or have purchased guitar kits. At Sinclair, the college produces about 1,200 guitar kits a year, making it a mid-tier guitar manufacturer within the industry.”
As an active partner of the TEAMM coordination network, whose mission is to bring together a wide variety of public and private sector stakeholders (for technician education) and improve access to professional development, the STEM Guitar project aligns with and helps TEAMM to fulfill its mission. STEM Guitar, with its team of 22 faculty around the U.S., coordinates faculty training and other non-profit skill building events related to STEM, Guitars, and materials.
While it is recommended and worthwhile to attend the official STEM Guitar workshop, (the staff here at AM News has participated in and documented several of the workshops), the project website at GuitarBuilding.org is loaded with information for educators and individuals, including the complete curriculum. Joining the live workshop gives participants an opportunity to build their own guitar and learn first-hand what is needed to replicate these lessons in the classroom (hint: you need a workshop, benches, tools). The curriculum and project based learning aligns with industry soft and hard skill sets and is crosswalked to K-12 standards
If you click through to the Video area of the site, you will find details on one of the techniques that the STEM Guitar team has perfected: How To Swirl Dip Your Guitar. The “Swirl dipping guitars from down under” link leads you to a YouTube video that gives you a unique view of the process — in the barrel of water looking up into the paint. Plus, you can see some of the amazing guitar finishing (lots of Swirl Paint jobs) results from photographer James Huntington Schuelke’s Flickr profile.
Here is the direct link to the YouTube Swirl Dip Your Guitar video.
TEAMM is always excited to see the progress and success of its members, but it is tough for any organization to match the energy and enthusiasm found in training other educators and middle/high school students. If you need to spark excitement for STEM learning, head over to Tom Singer and his team at STEM Guitar for ideas and inspiration.