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Geometry in Construction strives to apply math skills to daily life

Grady Bruch and Aidan Celner

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Almost everyone has drawn graphs and coordinate planes in their math classes. However, there are many students that are kinesthetic learners that want to learn with their hands and manipulate their math. So, South implemented a class that combined math and hands-on learning and benefited the community all at the same time, Geometry in Construction.

The class started in Loveland, Colorado, in 2006 and is designed for people who want to use math in tandem with construction, according to math teachers Brian Schmalzer and Mark Gallagher.

“Mr. Gallagher and I were sitting there, and we heard about this curriculum through the mathematical grapevine,” Schmalzer said. “We thought initially that this class provided a lot of really good application opportunities for mathematics, specifically geometry.”

Schmalzer said that he saw the practicality and benefit of bringing this class to the students because of the service-based nature of the school.

“South is extremely focused on service and it is a fantastic attribute and now we’re lacing that into a class daily,” Schmalzer said. “We’re building for Habitat for Humanity and we’re teaching construction skills side by side with geometry skills.”

Dan Leipert, career and technical education teacher, is also working with Schmalzer with the Geometry in Construction program. Leipert enjoyed the class’ ability to answer the age old question always made by his students: how does this apply to real life?

“[This class] shows students that every class you take here at GBS isn’t one dimensional,” Liepert said. “What you learn in English doesn’t just stay in English, what you learn in math doesn’t just stay in math and in this case, a construction class and a math class is a great class to connects those dots.”

This class is open to freshmen and sophomores, as the teachers are looking to grow their numbers among younger students, according to Schmalzer, as underclassmen will have taken a geometry course either in middle school or in their beginning years at South. The class meets daily and allows students to receive credits while contributing to something bigger than themselves and their school. Schmalzer is hoping that within a few years Geometry and Construction will become a huge draw for all students at Glenbrook South.

“I would like it to be looked at as one of those unique GBS opportunities for kids where they’re learning not just the content area but their learning interpersonal skills,” Schmalzer said.

Leipert and Schmalzer have big plans for the future of Geometry and Construction at Glenbrook South, according to Schmalzer. Both teachers spoke proudly of the curriculum and the students in the class and the culture they have created.

“If you can develop a curriculum where every single concept has a direct purpose right away and it’s not just doing math for the sake of doing math, then you have a really unique program,Schmalzer said.

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Geometry in Construction strives to apply math skills to daily life