Pennridge High School Students Successfully Craft a STEM-Strum Mashup

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shaving wooden slats
Image via Paul Weaver at YouTube.
Pennridge High School students tackled the intricate skills necessary to create their own acoustic guitars.

In the waning days of the 2021–2022 academic year, four Pennridge High School students received some music-to-their-ears news: They had successfully completed a long-term, complex assignment. Dan Sheridan tuned this story’s details for abc13 Eyewitness News in Houston.

The task, presented by Technology Education teacher Matt Pietzman, was an in-depth application of the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

It resulted in each student producing a playable, tuned, acoustic guitar from scratch.

“We start out with big blanks of wood [that become the] front of the guitar, back of the guitar, sides of the guitar, [and] all the internal bracing,” said Peitzman.

The challenge was first tossed to students in 2016, the brainchild of Peitzman and Department Head Allen Androkites. They saw it as a fun exercise in STEM, one that would make the sciences more engaging to students concentrating on more hands-on education.

The project has succeeded in generating interest on the school’s Perkasie campus (by year three, enrollment had doubled). What’s more, it’s catching the eyes — and ears — of female students.

The uptick in STEM interest also yielded a chorus of school administrators singing the praises of the idea behind it.

More on this Pennridge High School project is at abc13 Eyewitness News.

Although this video shows a professional making a guitar (and not students),
it provides a glimpse of the craftsmanship needed to handcraft a beautiful instrument.
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