PRATT — A new class at Pratt High School has sparked the interest of 21 students who want to apply math to the real world. Geometry in Construction is taught by the husband-wife duo, Tim and Melissa Rector, both teachers at Pratt Unified School District 382.
Geometry in Construction class is held over two class-periods every day, alternating between “math day” and “construction day” each day. Students who take the class get both a geometry and construction credit, as well as hands-on experience with geometry in the real world.
“This class was designed to teach geometry concepts while simultaneously teaching construction concepts and how the two relate and work together,” Melissa said.
The Rectors got the idea to start the class when Melissa received a flyer from a math and construction teacher in Colorado about a training for the curriculum. Once Melissa got Tim on board, the two shared it with administration. They said school administration has been supportive in the process of making the class.
“Mr. Schmidt (the assistant superintendent) loved the idea and immediately got us signed up to attend the training,” Melissa said. “It was held over four days in Olathe and was attended by other math and CTE teachers from across Kansas as well as the U.S.”
In making lesson plans for the class, the pair have realized how differences in words between geometry and construction could be a barrier for students to understand the relationship between the two.
“While planning lessons, we sometimes get frustrated with each other knowing we are trying to teach the same concept but having completely different methods and terminology," she said. "It is good for us to see the disconnect so we can overcome the gap and connect math with the real world.”
Not only are the students learning, but the Rectors say they are having fun as well.
“We play games to demonstrate many lessons of learning styles, communication styles, and group development; and in the process, we share a lot of laughs,” Melissa said. “It has a very different feel from a typical ‘math’ classroom for sure.”
So far this year, the class has learned about similar figures and scale factors while building a scale model of their capstone project. In the project, Tim has seen the students’ work ethic shine through.
“I feel like they have bought into the idea of why they need to learn geometry and how much it is used in everyday life,” Tim said. “Being able to build projects, allows the students to practice the math with a real life project.”
The class goal is to create a full size and operational Mobile Frog Shop, a place for booster club and student groups to sell Greenback (school mascot) Frog Shop merchandise at Pratt sporting events.
“We feel we have already accomplished a few goals and look forward to what this can do for students of Pratt High,” Melissa said. “Practicing the math one day and then using that exact math the very next day to complete a project allows the students to see the relevance of what they learned.”