A team of teachers has found that blending shop class with English and math makes for a complete learning experience for students and enhances career training.
The program is geared toward learning real life skills and applying them. For example, math exercises are centered on skills used in building. According to industrial arts teacher Ken Stone, “For some kids, the education process is lost,” Stone said. “They take a math class or an English class, and they don’t apply it.”
The program at Columbia Falls High school is known as the triad building trades program, blending English, math, and hands on skills while building structures like the “bike barn.
One of the 24 seniors working on the bike barn is Brooklynn Underwood. “It’s the better part of my day,” she said as she carefully measured a piece of wood for a door. “No homework, and I actually learn something.”
Math is applied to tangible problems in the triad program. Students need to know the Pythagorean theorem and how to use it to square a building. They need to know algebra to build a set of stairs. They need to figure load to weight rations to properly space trusses. For English, they work on technical manuals and technical writing skills instead of creative reading and writing.