It's hard to imagine professional development for teachers involving an electric guitar.
But that's exactly what's been happening at Stuyvesant High School for 13 teachers enrolled in a program called the Guitar Building Institute.
"It's been incredible. When I came I knew nothing about guitar building and now at the end of five days I have a guitar that I made myself," said Jon Bernstein, a Bronx High School of Business, English teacher.
It's a program funded by the National Science Foundation that use lessons in STEM. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics, to guide teachers in building guitars. Teachers can then pass on the lessons with the goal of exciting students in STEM subjects.
"Everybody wants to know what's this for, why do we have to do algebra? And part of the guitar building requires you to do some algebra, like the fret spacing," said Nancy Chang of the STEM Guitar Project.
The frets on a guitar aren't equally spaced down the neck; they're set using a formula.
"Using that formula to build a guitar you really care about and you want it to turn out and play really well, gives you a really good reason to figure out an equation that otherwise would just be something form out of a book, that had no meaning," said Chang.
There have been 40 Guitar Building Institutes held nationwide since 2008, but the one here at Stuyvesant is the first ever held in New York City.
Art and Technology teacher Leslie Bernstein said she hopes to partner with a physics teacher to help students at Stuyvesant build their own guitars in the new school year.
"I have a plan to play it on the first day of class, in woodworking class, so as the kids come in I'll be playing the guitar and that's kind of how I'll introduce the project to them," said Teacher, Leslie Bernstein.
Design teacher Joshua Cruz said the process required lots of trouble shooting, a good skill for students to learn.
"I'm still figuring out how we can apply it. I think we're going to use a lot of the same theories behind how strings work and stringed instruments and try and get them to make stringed instruments of their own," said Joshua Cruz, a design teacher at Brooklyn STEAM Center.
Some teachers say they now plan to learn to play what they actually have built. But musicians or not, they were all excited to have created the instrument, and that's the point of the program.
"It's been really exciting to excite teachers, because if you're exciting teachers you're for sure going to excite kids," said Mike Aikens, co-founder of the STEM Guitar Project.