Skateboard Deck building can be used as a focus to include a wide range of subjects into your curriculum.
Help your students earn their mandatory and elective credits while building skateboard decks in class or just build decks for fun!
Easy to teach, easy to learn, a win-win for students and teachers.
Teachers now building skateboard decks in class report that:
Students build a laminated maple veneer deck which they can be proud to display as an art project, or eventually use as transportation or exercise. Hardware does not need to be a part of this project, keeping costs and liability issues to a minimum.
Roarockit skateboard deck builds do not require the use of power tools and can be done in any classroom or even outdoors. No harmful glues, paints or coatings need to be used. Maple Veneer is 100% Canadian, and Kit parts are 99% North American made!
At-Risk Youth - After School - Practical Arts - Incentive / Rewards - Environmental Projects - - Shop Class – Technical Construction – Math, Science and Physics - Art and Design - Youth Outreach - Mentorship - Summer Camp – Skate Park and Store related events - School and Community Fundraisers
Building skateboard decks in class provides the opportunity to incorporate many lessons, some of which are outlined below.
The Roarockit deck building system has been working successfully in schools around the world since 2000.
Roarockit Skateboard Company’s (Canada) Education Consultant, Craig Morrison is a high school teacher in Toronto Canada who has recently expanded his already successful Skateboard Factory program to include a full-time curriculum based on skateboard deck building and street art. Craig will be offering his students a curriculum to allow them to earn high school compulsory and elective credits over 2 semesters. Students will gain entrepreneurial experience, and also receive an honorarium!
We invite you to visit oasisskateboardfactory.blogspot.com, for a progress report on his exciting programs!
Curriculum Subjects to consider working into your own school program.
Science and the Physics of Vacuum Pressure: Roarockit Skateboards are made with atmospheric pressure to press the veneers over a mold into shape. Include your own relevant experiments about the physics and practical uses of vacuum.
Woodworking: Maple veneer (especially Canadian-grown) is known to be the best in the world for skateboards and is included in Roarockit deck kits. Learning about grain direction, strength of wood, preparing, gluing and finishing are just a few of the lessons possible.
Environment: Skateboards have a “green” approach to many topics, including transportation, locally aquired materials, hand built, non-toxic materials, and leave only a small carbon footprint.
Art & Design: This section is generally the area that can be expanded the most and can fill an entire semester. Include deck graphic concepts, the history of deck art, design and application, and many more topics.
Business and Entrepreneurship: Create an ongoing program by building multiple decks with the reusable tools and Thin Air Press Kits. Create a company store, manage the funds, find sponsors, this can all be part of an ongoing program.
Leadership: Once students have the skills to build a skateboard deck, they can then assist or teach others through mentorship, outreach, summer camp and after-school programs.
Math, Science and the Physics of Vacuum Pressure: Building skateboard decks using atmospheric pressure is a simple yet effective way to understand what vacuum is.
Can you bend 7 layers of 1/16” (1.5mm) maple veneer at once using a plastic wine pump and a vinyl bag?
Learn why the vacuum created inside a Thin Air Press is so powerful! Use a mathematical formula to work out how many psi are generated by the high pressure pump over the area of a skateboard deck.
Points of Learning:
Demonstrations, Experiments and Activities:*
Levitation with Lung Power - incredibly, air can lift a person! Balloon in a Bottle - why can’t you do it? Suck an Egg into a Jar - it happens before your eyes Magic Lid - atmospheric pressure vs. gravity, what’s the difference?
*descriptions of these are included in our Teacher’s Kits Mini-Curriculums (with thanks to teacher Leanne McKee).
For years, power tools have become the mainstay of the woodworking world. While they certainly have their place, hand tools are also a viable way to work with wood.
Vacuum press technology is not new, however until the Thin Air Press Kit was invented, the process was rather complicated and expensive. Ted Hunter’s invention has simplified the process of vacuum laminating to its essence, making it easy to use and much less expensive. Working with hand tools also avoids insurance and liability issues, which are considerations in some shops and schools.
Some reading this may consider using a vinyl bag, foam mold and a hand vacuum pump a tad simple for doing “serious” woodworking. However old dogs CAN learn new tricks from the thousands of students who have successfully laminated 7 layers of 1/16” (1.5mm) maple veneer into a 3-dimensional skateboard deck by hand power!
Points of Learning:
sanding between finish coats for exceptional finishes
Making Skateboards is even GREENER!!
Roarockit Skateboard kits are composed of the all-important maple veneer, which is grown, harvested and milled in the long cold winters of north eastern Canada.
Skateboards contribute many environmental benefits to our society:
Roarockit Skateboard Deck Kits lower the carbon footprint:
Skateboard art culture is an exciting and relevant topic with many branches to explore in both the underground and legitimate art worlds.
This is the most flexible and expandable part of using skateboard deck building in a curriculum. From simply designing and painting a sanded deck, to an in-depth exploration of its history, skateboard art provides a rich resource for learning and discussion.
Art sessions can start even before the decks are built, and carry on past when they are finished and ready to hang in an exhibition!
Points of Learning:
Create an ongoing program by building multiple decks with the reusable tools and Thin Air Press Kits. Create a company store, manage the funds, find sponsors, while providing a compelling reason to come to class!
The Oasis Skateboard Factory Model: each student builds 2 (or more) skateboard decks. One deck becomes their own, then they are required to use their creativity to market the other deck to a member of the outside community. The challenge is to offer their product for sale, then support that sale by completing the assignment to the customer’s satisfaction on delivery. Most of Oasis’ finished skateboard “products” are now fixtures at coffee houses and other shops both locally and beyond the school.
Points of Learning:
Roarockit Skateboard Company (Canada) was excited to announce that the first school (that they know of) has developed a full 2-Semester credit program for grades 9, 10 and 11. ALL courses are taught with a Skateboard Theme including running an entrepreneurial business. Students work with local artists & business sponsors to design custom skateboards and get the opportunity to receive an honorarium. Students present community workshops and art displays.
Artist/Teacher Craig Morrison is well known for his Arts & Social Change Program at the Oasis Alternative School, and as well as his Stencil Art seminars and teachings. Craig has masterminded this new teaching venture, which you are welcome to view: http://oasisskateboardfactory.blogspot.com/
Laminating decks with the Roarockit process works best as a team effort!
Teachers report a high level of cooperation and interaction between students during these builds! Age, ability and other issues disappear while they help each other master the process of laminating, finishing, painting and displaying their skateboard decks.
From the skate park rider, to the woodworker, to the student more interested in the art side of the project, bringing them together with one project allows each student the opportunity to make a significant contribution to the class experience.
Once the build process has been learned, each student (depending on age) has the potential to become a teacher or assistant. Leadership and Life Skill lessons can be developed with this process, with programs and venues such as:
The teamwork required to build skateboards makes this an ideal program to bring students together. Many others will find skills they didn’t know they possessed. Empowered by knowing how to make a skateboard has given many students the confidence to overcome “issues”.
Skateboard deck building has proven itself to be the missing ingredient to a curriculum that engages youth.
Points of Learning:
Teacher’s Kits are the very best way to become familiar with the deck building process, available in Street Deck and Long Board sizes.
Both kits include 2 sets of veneer and glue as well as ALL the reusable tools, materials, instructions plus a mini-curriculum to help you set up your own class program.
Start by using one set of veneer and glue to actually build one deck, learning the system with your own hands-on session. Use the other set as a demonstration for your school administration, to promote interest in your classes or group, or incorporate the extra set during the first class session.
The foam mold, Thin Air Press and tools are all reusable, and can be used for many many builds.
Even if your school is equipped with parts included in these kits, we highly recommend at least one Teacher’s Kit, so that the full experience of laminating and finishing process is understood.
All materials and tools are available individually from Roarockit by order form, which can be requested by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Funding: this is a major issue with almost all schools. While we frequently get requests for donations, what we offer instead are suggestions on how schools have found a way to start up a skateboard building program for their students.
The start-up portion of setting up a class can quickly use up a budget. However once the tools are invested in, they are reusable and only require glue and veneer to continue building decks in class after class.
GRANTS: are perfect to cover the initial investment of the reusable tools. Materials can then be self-sustaining through sales or auctions of finished decks. (many schools require students to build 2 decks per term for this reason).
MATERIALS FEE: on a per-student basis, collect the cost of the “consumable” items (veneer and glue) instead of using the yearly budget.
SKATEBOARD FACTORY: generate a self-sustaining program by operating a company store and generating income through sales. Offer a credit or life skills course for the management of this program.
CORPORATE SPONSORSHIP: through personal, school and community connections.
MENTORSHIP PROGRAMMING: budgets may be available to groups that involve mentorship. Match up pairs of under and over achievers to create a learning and support system within your own classroom.
All over the world, thousands of custom decks such as pool boards, drop decks, dancers and downhill boards have been designed and pressed using the Roarockit system by enterprising builders.
With Ted Hunter’s pioneering use of foam to shape the mold, builders can now design and shape their own styles of decks. Tutorials are posted on our blog and at ministryofwood.com
Composite materials such as carbon fiber and fiberglass can also be used in the Thin Air Press. Inlay and marquetry have also been used with great success.
Veneer is available in uncut sheets for custom shaping, as well as larger Thin Air Press vacuum bags. Use of a bandsaw or jigsaw will be required to trim out custom shapes.
Points of Learning:
Please note that Taking the Process Further as listed on this page requires a high level of experience with both building decks in the Roarockit Thin Air Press and using composite materials. This is not recommended for first time builders, trust us!!