PHS STEAM Proposal Lands Innovation Grant Award

Pullman High School chemistry teacher Johanna Brown and art teacher Rob McPherson’s $9880 proposal for a capstone project involving students enrolled in ceramics and chemistry is the 2019-2020 recipient of the PEF Innovation Grant. Grant funds will support the construction of a Raku kiln, purchase of a glazing cabinet with carts, glaze-making supplies and materials, Raku process supplies, and printing costs for display posters.

Students will study the science of ceramics by using raw materials to create glazes which then will be applied to their pottery creations. Pottery will be fired at specific temperatures and results analyzed. The process of experimenting with glazes will require student use and knowledge of the scientific process, engineering practices, and the aesthetics of ceramic artwork. Student artwork and scientific displays will be exhibited each year at the PHS spring arts festival.

This ambitious project will count on help from shop teacher Vince Hanley’s welding class to build and install an outdoor kiln for Raku firing. Mike Wendt of Wendt Pottery in Lewiston, ID., will advise on pottery production, and Michael Maughan, Ph.D, Mechanical Engineering, University of Idaho, will provide guidance in research and experimental design.