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Applied Geometry: High School Students Construct a House

December 03, 2016

You get paid for what you do and what you know. Turns out, the more you know, the more you can do.

An interdisciplinary class for Evanston (Illinois) Township High School students to learn geometry through home construction. They work on the house all year and at the end of the year, the house is moved to a lot donated by the city and sold to someone in the community that qualifies for affordable housing.

Maryjoy Heineman and Matt Kaiser are the teachers. They allow the building size and configuration to dictate the geometry agenda—rather than beginning at chapter 1 and moving sequentially through the book, they let the construction process point to problems in need of solutions.

Classroom time is used to prepare for the next day by looking at blueprints and framing layouts. This program is engaging and answers the question "Why do we have to learn this stuff?" before it is asked.

Quotes from the kids:

"Besides the weather, it is way more fun..."

"In regular geometry class, you're sitting in a class room—instead of building a house."

The house was built in two parts and trucked to the site, craned into place atop a new foundation, and finished in place.

The community, the school board, the teachers, and students are all finding value in teaching kids that working with your hands and head are critical to success.

Go Wildkits!

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