Stairs Built by Geometry in Construction Students Help Elementary Students

Students in the Geometry in Construction class used their knowledge of slope and dimension to design and build four sets of small stairs for ES students. The sophomores and seniors placed the stairs in the bathrooms at the ES so younger students are better able to reach and use the soap dispensers. 

This is the second year that the MS/HS has conducted a Geometry in Construction class that teaches students how to take math concepts and apply them to real-world problems to create solutions. Students worked in pairs and small groups to create prototypes that met the dimension requirements in each bathroom. The class had to determine how many steps were needed and what would be a safe model to hold a young student’s weight when in use. They also had to find a design that was easy to replicate. The stairs project was completed in approximately three weeks. Once the stairs were constructed, students sanded and painted the finished pieces.

“Last year, students constructed stairs, but because the one-man shelter we worked on as the final project was a single floor unit, we couldn’t use them,” said math teacher Russ Albright. “While building stairs helped them use their knowledge of geometry to build something tangible, students were disappointed that they couldn’t be used by anyone. This year’s class was really excited to work on a project that helps other students.” 

The Geometry in Construction students are able to use the time spent working on service projects in class towards the graduation requirement of community service hours. “I like doing something for others,” said senior Paige Brimacomb. “I would like to see more opportunities for students to work on projects that affect the community.”

Once sophomore Richard Webster learned that the class was being offered for the 2017-18 school year, he was excited, knowing how successful last year’s class was in building a shelter for Second Wind Cottages in Ithaca, NY. “I was immediately in - I knew exactly what course I wanted to take this year,” said Richard. “Taking this class has paid off for me. I’m doing much better in geometry; it’s helping my GPA. This is one of those courses that you can already see how you’re going to use what you’re learning. I hope this course stays around.” Sophomore Gianna Grathouse agrees with the practical applications the course offers. “I’ve already been doing some of the carpentry work I’ve learned around my house,” she said. “It makes me think about going into the construction field as a career path.” The class traveled to Alfred State College last semester to participate in Careers in Construction Day, which gave students insight into what career options there are in this field.

A math day in this class is better than a regular math class, but building days are the best - something we all look forward to.
— Holley student

Overall, students agreed that they like the chance to work together as a small team and feel good about how their work is helping others. They would also recommend this class to other students. As one student said, “A math day in this class is better than a regular math class, but building days are the best - something we all look forward to.”