Students in the Geometry in Construction class traveled to Homesteads for Hope (H4H) in Ogden, NY on May 2 and 8 to install their final project. Theycombined their math and construction skills to build a 16’ x 20’ barn for H4H this year. This is the first project they have completed for H4H, which is a non-profit community farm that provides an all-inclusive place for young adults of all abilities to learn, work, live and grow. In past years, students have used their knowledge of geometry and construction skills to build one-man homeless shelters.
Math teacher Russ Albright and technology teacher Tim Rogers co-teach Geometry in Construction, with students rotating between math days and building days each week. There are 12 students in this year’s class, with the majority in 10thgrade. The class helps students learn how math concepts can be applied to real-world problems to create solutions.
In the fall, students went on a fieldtrip to the H4H farm so they could better understand how the organization operates and where the barn would be placed on the property. By housing animals like chickens and rabbits in the barn, it will provide new opportunities for young adults to care for the animals on the farm. The barn installation is part of the Phase I plan for H4H.
The barn features a loft on the second floor. Metal skin siding, metal roofing, windows and doors will be added to the barn once it is in place; students were only responsible for building the barn structure. Students planned for the project by working on a scale model of the barn. The barn was staged on a specially built platform at school before it was dismantled and transported to H4H to be installed permanently.
For many Geometry in Construction students, this was the first construction project they had ever completed. “I got out of my comfort zone and learned to work in high places,” said Zach Dann. “I learned how to run electric tools and I also learned about fancy terms like what ‘being plumb’ means.” John Patt agreed that his construction skills have increased. “I’ve gained building skills and tool knowledge,” he said. Many students said they are interested in completing more construction projects on their own time.
Zach McAllister said the class helped him increase his math skills. “I learned about the different properties of geometric shapes,” he said. Zach Dann agreed. “I’m better at geometry now than I would have been taking another class,” he said. “I like the hands-on aspect of this class. I’m good at math, but geometry is a challenge for me.”
The skills students learn in this class will be carried with them beyond high school to be used in future jobs or home projects. “Students enjoy this class because they can see the real-world application of math,” said Rogers. “Many students who don’t traditionally perform well in math class are performing much better in this class.” The scores from last year’s Regents Exam continue to show that Geometry in Construction students score better than traditional geometry class students. Regardless of how they do on the Geometry Regents exam in June, students leave class feeling proud of completing a community service project that helps others.