+ Students in KY Apply Geometry to Construction Projects

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In Northern Kentucky, geometry students at Newport High School are answering the question “How does this matter in real life?” according to an article by Sarah Hardee in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

A pilot program, through the state’s Department of Education and Kentucky Educational Television, is providing 19 students with a construction geometry course that integrates the two disciplines.

The students will apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to an important construction project.  The hope is that students will be more interested in math, and retain information better, says educator Terry Bennett, who designed the lessons used for the program.  Bennett is a consultant with both the state Department of Education and KET.

Says Bennett, “It’s an interdisciplinary video course for students taking both geometry and carpentry courses.  The idea of the program is allowing students to learn math in the context of something they’re interested in.

“When you apply math to a field with real-life examples, it makes it more real for students.”

At the moment, only a handful of schools in Kentucky are part of the pilot program that requires state assessments and evaluations.  But more than 30 schools are using program materials, and applying the curriculum in math and carpentry classes.

At Newport, carpentry teacher Harold Davis, a carpentry teacher who is also certified to teach math, is in a unique position.  “It’s an advantage and made us perfect for this program.” 

Davis is helping the students build a garage at the district’s bus lot using geometry and carpentry lessons they learn in the program. 

“For students, the program is great because it is hands on learning that has a purpose.  Students are building something by applying what they’re learning in the classroom… it’s a win-win for them.”  

Travis Jones, a sophomore, said learning geometry through the program has been much easier for him because he’s a hands-on learner.  It’s also been nice to knock out both credits at once, he said.

“We’re putting what we’re learning to work,” says Jones.  “It’s all coming together now and it will be nice to see the finished product.”

The construction geometry course is also available through the Kentucky Virtual High School, which offers a range of online learning services for teachers and students throughout the state.

“All of the feedback we’ve been getting on the program has been nothing but positive,” said Bennett.  “We’re hoping it proves to be a success and we can bring it to even more students in Kentucky.”

For more information on the course or to obtain materials, contact Carole Frakes at the Kentucky Department of Education at 502-564-3472.

sole source: Sarah Hardee’s article on 3/24/09 in the Cincinnati Enquirer in Northern Kentucky.  http://www.nky.com

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