Fueling Creativity in Education Podcast

Season 7

Breaking Records and Igniting Creativity: Peter Wachtel’s Creative Approach to Education

In what ways can creativity be infused into mathematics education, especially for students who may not naturally gravitate toward math?

In this episode of the Fueling Creativity in Education Podcast, Matthew Worwood and Cyndi Burnett interview Peter Wachtel, a teacher at Adolfo Camarillo High School in California. Peter is an experienced teacher of architecture and product innovation design and has a diverse background in the toy and entertainment industry. He was also the winner of the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Teaching Excellence Prize and the California ACTE CTE Teacher of the Year.

The conversation begins with a discussion about Peter’s Guinness World Record for creating the longest charcuterie board in the world. He explains that it was a collaborative project with his students, involving careful planning and logistics. The board was 204 feet, 7.8 inches, and featured various cheeses, meats, and appetizers arranged in an aesthetically pleasing way.

Peter then shares his journey into product design and inventing, recounting his early days of tinkering with bicycles and even turning a lawnmower into a go-kart. He emphasized the importance of curiosity and exploration in education, as well as the value of learning from both good and not-so-great teachers. The episode concludes with Peter discussing how he brings creativity into the classroom. He believes that anything around us can be an opportunity for exploration and discovery. Through projects like the charcuterie board, his students learn teamwork, collaboration, and problem-solving skills. Peter highlights the importance of involving the community and different entities in these projects, giving students a real-world understanding of how businesses operate.

Overall, this episode provides valuable insights into how creativity can be infused into education and the transformative impact it can have on students’ learning experiences.

Bring outside influences into the classroom; bring in a toy company for example, and showcase how English, Math, and Science is used in industry.

Featured Guest

Peter Wachtel teaches architecture and product innovation design at Adolfo Camarillo High School in Camarillo, Calif. He was a 2019 winner of the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Teaching Excellence Prize & 2022 California ACTE CTE Teacher of the Year, 2023 Guinness World Record Holder (Longest Charcuterie Board in the World), taught design at the college level at MIT, Pratt Institute, Parsons School of Design and Otis College of Art and Design for more than 20 years. Wachtel, teaching after a 30-year career in the toy & entertainment industry, is the former president of the Southern California Toy Association, a published author of two books and has been a toy and product designer/inventor/ director at companies such as Marvel & Six Flags. 

Episode Debrief

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