"The curriculum was already there. The resources were free. I know I'm a better teacher!"
Scott teaches high school kids engineering and technologyâ€”critical skills for our nation's future. WGBH classroom resources help him open young minds to new worlds of learning.
My name is Scott Kutz, and I'm an engineering and technology teacher at Westlake High School.
The first time we heard about Design Squad was five years ago. We decided to go to an engineering conference in Pittsburgh, and I heard Design Squad was going to be there, and I had vaguely heard about it before, so I went into the workshop and then I thought, "Wow, this is a great curriculum."
We figured we could make a class out of this. The curriculum was already there, it was online, the resources were free, so we decided to approach our administration about it. We just knew it was going to be a hit.
The Design Squad website gives us the setup for the activity. And the students are actually solving a problem, and when they solve problems, they quickly understand there's more than one answer. We might have ten different solutions, and every one of those solutions work.
One of our students never used any kind of tools, not even a hammer, cordless drill, screwdriver. One of the projects she designed was her self-composting harvest bin, and it was based on one of the "Green Machine" episodes that was on Design Squad. She designed this whole thing herself, used all kinds of tools, and entered it into our state conference, ends up winning best of show in the bio-related technology category.
When you see a student that learns and grows and they actually are awarded something, as a teacher, that would be akin to probably winning the Super Bowl.
We are so fortunate to have WGBH-TV produce a show like Design Squad. I know I'm a better teacher now that we have Design Squad in our curriculum. It just opened their minds and opened them to a new world of, you know, what is learning all about? And for us as teachers, there's nothing better.