Battle High School offers a unique opportunity for hands-on learning Mid-Missouri News

COLOMBIA – Some Battle High School students learn about the practical application of mathematical concepts while building a small home.

Geometry lessons in construction began during the 2018-19 school year after the Columbia Public Schools Foundation gave the district money to start the program from the ground up, under an agreement that the district supports the program.

Students receive a double credit for a class in geometry and applied arts.

Brian Hancock teaches geometry part of the class. Hancock said students learn the same amount of math in the classroom as they do in a traditional geometry class. However, they do not always study mathematics in a traditional classroom environment.

“We actually had kids doing math problems, actually counting right triangles on the boards. [they] are actually cutting because they need to figure out where to put the saw and which angle to use, ”Hancock said.

Battle High School students work on a construction project in a small house while taking geometry classes.

Terrell Johnson, a student who enrolled in the class, said she feels this practical approach to learning is becoming a high maintenance.

“I feel like because it’s a practical class, I can learn it and actually keep it in my head a little more than normal,” Terrell said. “It’s easier to do that if I can actually put my hands on it, instead of writing it down on paper.”

Carl Dement, who teaches construction part of the classroom, said students develop confidence while working at home and learn teamwork. In addition, Dement said students develop basic construction skills that they can apply in their adult lives.

“They will have some basic skills in repairing some things in the house,” Dement said. “We do the electricity, we do the framing, we do the roofing, we do the drywall – those are the basics they can use later in life when they grow up and own their own home.”

Lisa Nieder, a secondary mathematics math coordinator, said this class is a great option for students who are visual learners and love to work with their hands. She said offering classes designed for unique teaching styles would benefit students.

“I think the more opportunities we give children and how they learn math, the more number of them we will only succeed,” Nieder said.

Cedric Miller, a student enrolled in the class, said learning math by hand made math more interesting.

“I would recommend it to anyone who needs a geometry math lesson,” Cedric said. “Probably the best math lesson I’ve ever taken.”

The last two small houses were sold at auction. Nieder said the district hopes to eventually bring a humanitarian element to the program.

“We hope to partner with any agency that can help us get this house into the hands of someone who can actually use it and appreciate it,” Nieder said. “And we think it will be more motivating for the kids in the program.”

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