New high school course links math to real-world, hands-on use

New high school course links math to real-world, hands-on use
Posted on 08/10/2021
MHS students work on a project in GICStudents in the new Geometry in Construction (GIC) class at Mehlville High School learned geometry and construction in a very tangible way. They built a storage shed for MOSAIC Elementary.

The Geometry in Construction course provides students with opportunities for real-world application of geometry principles. In addition to learning mathematics, students also gain hands-on understanding of construction methods, construction safety and tools.
Student using tools in GIC
Image: A student in the Geometry in Construction class at Mehlville High School practices using tools. 

“I wanted to take this class because I want to become an architect. This was the closest thing I could do in my high school career, and it seemed fun and different from a normal math class,” said Zachary Thomason, Mehlville High School senior who took the class as a sophomore. “We’ve learned a lot about construction, different measurements and tools.”

Students begin the course in the classroom learning geometry. Then, they’re introduced to construction tools. 

“I learn a lot better doing hands-on activities, and that has been my favorite part of this experience,” said Maddie Kordik, MHS senior who took the class as a sophomore. “We get to learn how to build things by using the geometry we learn in class.”
MHS GIC students during the 2019-2020 school year
Image: 2019-2020 Geometry in Construction students Adrian Gomez, Darren Green, Taylor Kordik and Izayah Hannam-Lewis collaborate on a project.

The MOSAIC Elementary School shed project began during the 2019-2020 school year. After practicing with tools on smaller projects, students began applying geometry skills to design and construct the shed. The process included a client meeting with MOSAIC Elementary principal Dr. Scott Clark and conducting detailed measurements for the shed’s future location.
Client meeting with Dr. Clark

Image: MHS Geometry in Construction students conduct a client meeting with MOSAIC Elementary principal Dr. Scott Clark during the 2019-2020 school year.

Students were making progress on the shed before the project had to be put on hold in March 2020 when schools across the country shifted to virtual learning because of COVID-19. With students learning from home, there was no way for construction to be completed.

The process began again with a new group of students at the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, with students learning geometry and tool skills before beginning construction. In May, students deconstructed the shed they had built on the Mehlville High School campus, transported it across Lemay Ferry Road and reconstructed it in its permanent location at MOSAIC Elementary.
Completed shed at MOSAIC Elementary
Image: MHS Geometry in Construction students with their completed shed at MOSAIC Elementary.

“In the GIC classroom, real-life calculations and estimations are being used in every part of our class,” said Stephanie Guliano, Mehlville High teacher. “This is how mathematics was meant to be taught: Real-life application and hands-on learning.”

Students at Mehlville High School and Oakville High School can enroll in Geometry in Construction any year of high school after completing Algebra I.
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