A geometry class is building tiny houses for homeless people.

Over two dozen students from Eureka High School put on their hard hats and goggles, and set about to build a wall of a tiny house, while setting up a temporary wooden foundation and building multiple door and window headers.

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The students are freshmen and sophomores, and are learning everything about building a house.  They calculate the surface area of the house, and plann the dimensions of each piece of wood.  Eventually they will learn how to put up drywall and install utilities.

“You actually have to try in this class,” said 14 year old Tucker Burt. “It’s a lot more fun. It’s a lot more hands-on. It’s a lot more interesting.”

The “Geometry in Construction” class started in several St. Louis area schools this year.  Along with Eureka, Summit and Ritenour High Schools are building tiny houses by using geometry.

Eureka High is one of several St. Louis-area schools that are debuting a “Geometry in Construction” class this year. Students at Rockwood’s Eureka and Summit high schools and Ritenour High School are using geometry to build their own tiny houses over the course of a school year. The class is offered through Contextual Learning LLC of Colorado.

The Eureka and Summit students’ houses will be moved to a lot in northern St. Louis providing shelter for the homeless.  Ritenour students will conduct an auction of the houses to cover their costs, and donate leftover profits to a local charity.

Students like having the chance to work outside with their hands, and knowing that math is useful.

“We’re not getting results that we’d like to get for our students, so we’re looking for additional opportunities that could make math relevant for students,” said Mike LaChance, Ritenour’s assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. “This program does that. It adds relevancy to mathematics. If it’s something that they created, something that they’ve done, they’re going to remember that content far better than if they memorized it for a test.”

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