Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pirates Have Taken Over Woodshop!

Pirates and piracy have been our campwide theme this session and that is what our teachers base the educational curriculum around in all subject areas. In woodshop class I had two students who I thought blew the theme out of the water (excuse the pun) with their projects and both Darian and Alex received advanced project design awards for their great creations.

As you can see from the pictures to the right Darian decided to extend his studies to modern day piracy by making a United States Navy battle ship that was designed to battle pirates off the coast of Somalia. To bring his idea to life we first found him a 2' block of pine that measured about 6" X 6" then cut some basic bow lines to the forward portion of the block. From here Darians brain went into overdrive and it was a great moment for the woodshop teacher to stand back and observe. This 14 year old boy was doing some major heavy-duty thinking about how he wanted to pull it off. Occasionally Darian would ask me a question or what I would suggest to solve a particular problem but he was clearly the Captain in charge of his ship. Even after the main body of the ship was complete I was really proud of how Darian then went on for several woodshop classes to extend his idea by adding a railing around the deck, a radio communications antenna, and a helicopter. Just great!

On the other hand I had Alex in another class and he had a vision to make a pirate. While I have a lot of woodcarving experience I thought that this particular carving in-the-round might be a little too much for a beginner carver so I suggested that he do a "flat" relief carving which I felt would produce a more successful pirate that Alex would appreciate. Using a 1" thick piece of pine Alex started out doing some basic cuts on the face that I helped him sketch out but during his second woodshop class he decided to work on his pirate with the woodburning pens. By this time he was well on the way with his creation and didn't need much help or guidance after he had a good grasp on how he was going to bring his pirate to life. As you can see from the top picture Alex added a hilarious hairy chest using some felt that he pulled apart, then "fluffed" up, glued and painted it on the chest area. He also added a red beard with the same red felt that he didn't paint. Absolutely a wonderful project!

These were only two projects that came out of the woodshop this session and there were many others. Woodshop class is a great opportunity that our students are fortunate to have and this experience greatly compliments their other studies while at the same time it allows them to let their minds wander into the world of creation. While our school greatly values and understands how powerful a hands-on woodshop program can be to a students overall complete education, it's sad to see a trend in today's schools that doesn't seem to comprehend this need in kids to build things with their hands. Personally I can't imagine an education being complete where their is no opportunity to see, design, to hammer & saw, and build things by hand. Woodshop builds more than boxes, birdhouses, and cabinets... it builds character. And that is what will count in the long run.

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