Table Top Inventing Podcast

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In This Episode

Jonathan Schwartz - Table Top Inventing Podcast

  • Join us for the interesting plot twists in today's podcast.Can shop class make kids better at math?

  • What thinking skills are learned in a shop class?

  • How exactly does a professional kayaker become a math teacher?

Welcome to the Table Top Inventing podcast. We took a much needed one week break from the show last week, but we're back at it this week with a power-packed show. Today we're tackling the topic of shop class from a very compelling angle.

Over the last 10 years, shop classes such as wood working, auto shop, welding, and other classes have disappeared from almost every school in America. With the university focus toward intellectual property, engineering, and cutting edge science, high schools just stopped teaching these classes...

but at what cost?

The overwhelming feedback we keep getting on this podcast from successful professionals is the need for hands-on training. Yet in school, where else do kids get hands-on training if not in shop class? "Robotics!" some say, or "Engineering classes," others say. My experience in those classes is that the curriculum is so scripted that very little original thinking occurs.

However in shop class, students are forced to grapple with the reality that they drilled the hole too big or that the part is just a bit too short. These errors or incorrect assumptions teach lessons in a way that no scripted curriculum can. Failure is one of the best teachers we have, but we've become afraid to let it into the classroom.

Today's guest, Jonathan Schwartz, is no stranger to shop class or to inventing, and ironically is also a math teacher at his high school. You'll be shocked about what he says about his shop classes versus his math classes as far as thinking skills, but I'm not letting the cat out of the bag. You'll have to listen in for the answers.

I know I say this every week, but its true every week. I just loved this interview with Jonathan. He is one of the most interesting guests we've ever had on the podcast because he teaches both a "core" subject as well as a shop class. His insights are priceless.

If your school doesn't offer shop class but you would like your kids to be exposed to more critical problem solving, you need to know about Inventor Camp. This year we'll be offering Inventor Camp in southern California, western North Carolina, Atlanta, and Orlando. To keep your kids from getting behind, go to and sign up for Inventor Camp. We're preparing kids for the innovation economy!

Original Episode Date: 2/25/16

Category: Innovative Educators, Makers & Innovators

Direct download: 078_-_Math_and_Shop_Class_with_Jonathan_Schwartz.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 9:44pm PST

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