HIGHLANDS RANCH -Highlands Ranch STEM School and Academy is quickly outgrowing their current school.

Right now, over 150 students are taking classes in a nearby hotel because there's no more room left on campus.

To solve this problem, the school is getting a 30,000-square-foot addition. But, it's not the addition that should impress you. It's the brains behind it.

Engineering students of Mike Shallenberger's class never thought they'd be developing the plans for new classrooms, labs, library and a cafeteria.

What started off as a typical engineering course, has now transformed into a hands on learning lab.

Here's how the classroom lesson works.Lakewood's Himmelman Construction is building the framework of the new addition right now.

On a given day or week, they throw a problem out to the high school engineering students in the class.

Students have two days to develop solution using high level CAD and Google SketchUp technology, the same resources used in the construction world.

Students then present their solution to the construction team, who will then carry out the plan.

It's the most extreme form of hands on learning and students are thrilled to be the brains behind a real project.

Highlands Ranch STEM School and Academy follows the STEM mission - it involves business and education partnership.

The construction firm on site is working with students to teach them the most efficient way to think and carry out plans for the situation at hand.

The best part of this class?

When the addition is complete, this group of students will thoroughly enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Read or Share this story: