LAKEWOOD, Colo. — The Jefferson County Public School District brought in a program called “Geometry in Construction” to make sure their students were understanding high school math.
“Geometry in Construction is a grassroots program that was started by two teachers who were basically tired of doing things the same old way,” said co-creator Scott Burke. “The whole thing is trying to improve math scores while simultaneously training kids for actual employable skills.”
Burke is now the Coordinator of Contextual Learning for Jefferson County Schools and said the district implemented the program to give students hands-on problem-solving experience that combines math instruction with contextual learning or construction.
“So often times in schools, we’ve removed a lot of programs like this for the overall curriculum over time so this is a way to bring those back and bring them back in a rigorous and meaningful way,” Burke said.
Burke said the program has spread to over 500 high schools nationwide where students help build homes for Habitat for Humanity.
The JeffCo School District brought in their program to high schools like Green Mountain, Columbine and Golden —with the hope to spark interests in contextual jobs like trades, architecture and civil engineering.
“Our belief in this program is that if you can get an education and you can have an employable skill…that in this country there will never be a day that you won’t be employed as long as you’re willing to work,” Burke said.
“I’ve learned more about electrical and plumbing,” said sophomore J.J. Armstrong. “We just continue to learn new stuff every day.”
In December, the program began building their first home and now the project is in its final stages. Burke said its life changing to see the progress of his students.
“Kids get an opportunity to develop the skill, attain the academic credit and on top of it, give back to the community,” Burke said. “It’s almost like the perfect trifecta of exactly what people are needing in today’s day and age.”
“It’s been really fun,” Armstrong said. “Especially knowing how we’re doing it for someone in need.”
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