February 18, 2020 – Students at Santa Fe College’s Davis Center in Archer used pneumatic spray guns to apply the first coat of finish to their mahogany electric guitar bodies earlier this month. These students are enrolled in ISC 1006 Wide World of Science, a three-credit hour elective course that introduces participants to science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) skills and STEAM careers through the hands-on project of building an electric guitar start to finish.
Students learn woodworking, how to wield power tools and hand tools, accurate measurement, the math of guitar design, the chemistry of paint and finish, how to solder guitar electronics, the physics of sound and more as they assemble a unique guitar. The course is designed to interest and engage students who may have negative perceptions of STEM coursework. The goal is to teach STEM self-efficacy and entry-level STEM skills through a fun and participatory project.
Two other sections of the same course offered at SF’s Andrews and Watson centers take a similar approach, but use rocketry and robotics projects to achieve the same learning outcomes. The courses were launched by the Guitars, Rocketry, and Robotics Advanced Technological Education (GRRATE) Project and are funded by National Science Foundation grant #1800955.
The GRRATE Project is currently recruiting faculty with STEM graduate degrees to participate in professional development training to teach the course in future semesters. If interested, email email@example.com or visit sfcollege.edu/grrate for more information.