You are a high school geometry student and wonder how angles and trigonometry and more applies in the real world. “What does this all mean and how can it really help me after I graduate?” you ask yourself.
At Wawasee High School, geometry students have an opportunity to put what they learn in books in the classroom setting to work in a hands-on program known as Geometry in Construction.
Geometry in Construction was started as a pilot program a couple of years ago at WHS. It is a program originating in Loveland, Colo.
Geometry students, mostly sophomores at WHS, used what they learned in the classroom to help them build a cabin to be used as a home at Pic-A-Spot Campground at Little Barbee Lake. The cabin will be used by John and Lori Rainford, managers of the campground owned by John and P.J. McDaniel.
The cabin is 12 feet by 36 feet in size, is stick built and modular, said Jamie McAdams, construction teacher at WHS. “It has a mobile home furnace with the metal duct work,” he said. “The kids installed the furnace, did some plumbing and wiring, laid the floor, hung the windows, installed cabinets and did the roof.”
Kem Zolman, geometry teacher at WHS, said this year was different in that the program was expanded in scope. “This was the first year for us to have geometry and construction classes back to back,” he said. “The cabin really dictates where you are in the math. The two really drive each other.”
Students spent one hour in the geometry classroom, then went to the cabin to work for one hour. In order to take geometry or Geometry in Construction, students must pass Algebra I. And in order to work on the cabin a given day, they must finish homework assignments.
It’s a prime example of practical, hands-on learning. “They used trig functions to find the roof angles,” Zolman said. “They used geometry to figure out the walls need to be perpendicular to the studs and also to determine the slope of the roof.”
Other public school corporations have discovered what Wawasee is doing. Teachers from schools in Chicago have visited to observe the program and a school district in Cleveland also wants to visit. “As far as I know, we are the only Indiana school doing this,” McAdams said.
An open house for the cabin project is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 30. The cabin is in the parking lot to the east of the career and technical trades building on the WHS campus.
For the complete story, see the May 30 edition of The Mail-Journal.