New construction class offers a new angle
October 9, 2018 By:MHS Piper
By Noha Escobar
A new geometry in construction class has been established in the 2018-2019 school year at McNary High School. This class uses engineering, architecture, and design. The class involves using hands to apply geometry in a construction setting.
The geometry in construction class at McNary High School was inspired by a pair of teachers in Colorado that taught a geometry in construction class and gave a house (made by the students) to a family in the community each year.
Because this class requires teaching in both math and construction, two teachers work together for the students to succeed. Mr. Bill Kirkwood is in charge of the math and Mr. Robert Robison teaches the kids how to apply the math in construction.
In the past, Kirkwood taught a regular geometry class, as well as for honors credit, and he knows the amount of stress that comes with it. In general, being a teacher and coming up with different ways to teach a class and organizing time to do so is stressful. According to Kirkwood, this new geometry in construction class has a “normal amount of stress”.
“The thing that I like about teaching somebody how to do construction is I like seeing someone take ownership of the project that’s in front of them,” Robison said.
Robison was looking forward to what will come out of this course saying, “My goal is to get them to the point where they’re the ones standing at the saw horses and I’m telling them what I need, instead of them telling me what they need.”
Previously, Robison had the opportunity to teach students at CTEC how to build a set of stairs. His experience was rather fun. “I fell in love with the program; with seeing the math being contextualized and the kids taking ownership of how simple it is mathematically to figure something as seemingly complicated as a set of stairs,” Robison said.
When a construction job opened at McNary high school, Robison’s name had been mentioned to the McNary principal, Mr. Erik Jespersen. Robison shared what he knew about the job opening, “I knew that it was gonna have something to do with teaching kids.”
Robison was familiar with McNary High School. He attended McNary his sophomore year.
He had experience as a building contractor and specialized in that for 20 years. As a building contractor, he had to teach his employees how to work. He found satisfaction when he saw the employees finishing the tasks he needed completed. “That tells me that they can do it on their own,” Robison said. Other than the opportunity at CTEC, Robison had never worked in a classroom setting but is looking forward to a new experience that involves working with kids at McNary high school.
Both instructors find this class to be more fun than a regular geometry class in which the student are sitting at a desk and taking notes on what’s on the board.
Kirkwood concluded with, “This is an exciting program with a variety of things and applying things…it’s fun!”