Learning about angles, shapes and theorems was useful for a high school athletic program, as students used geometry lessons to build a press box behind a the school baseball diamond. They didn’t have to go far to use their skills in a real world setting.
The year long project by two geo-construction classes resulted in a new two-story press box behind the Park Ridge school’s varsity baseball diamond. Students spent the fall and winter months indoors learning geometry, and the spring outside wearing hard hats and building the structure.
Teachers at a high school in Loveland, Colorado developed the concept that is being introduced to more schools across the country.
Tom Kaiser, a career and technical education teacher at Maine East, is overseeing construction of the Maine East press box, at the same time his brother, a teacher at Evanston Township High School, is working on a similar project with students to build a three-bedroom, 1,300-square-foot house for a low-income family.
“It’s been shown students succeed better in geometry with contextualized learning,” Kaiser said. “Construction pairs well with geometry. It’s real-world, hands-on experience. They’re getting their mind around real-world things. It’s not just naked math.”
Students at Maine East started the school year learning the basics of geometry and building a small balsa wood model of the press box inside the school’s wood shop.
Kaiser teaches the construction component of the class, while math teachers Scott Schultes and Dave Clifford handle the geometry. The teachers were able to finish their math instruction before students were finally able to begin building the press box in March.
Each class is 90 minutes a day — essentially two regular class periods — to give students enough time to progress on construction. A total of 50 students — mostly sophomores — are enrolled in the program, in which they can fulfill a mandatory geometry class requirement, while also picking up an elective in career and technical education.