Colorado high school students build houses to learn real-world math application

Credit: Capri23auto/Pixabay

Credit: Capri23auto/Pixabay

Instead of building birdhouses, a Colorado high school class is building real houses -- and state lawmakers want other schools to follow suit.

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Green Mountain High School in Lakewood combines its shop class with math class, allowing students to learn algebra while learning to use power tools, WFOR-TV reports. Teacher Scott Burke heads up the program.

“One of things missing in many high schools all throughout the country is the hands-on application of answering the age-old question, especially in math, of when am I ever going to need to know how to use this,” he said. “With this you’re able to get students engaged at a much earlier level, during that eighth, ninth, 10th grade year to spark some interest in them.”

While the news station reports the class is “the envy of school districts across the state,” it doesn’t have much funding. But state Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp has introduced a new bill meant to change that. The bill would allow schools to apply for state grant money to build career technical programs in a wide range of fields.

"Did you know in five years 50 percent of (the) Xcel workforce is going to be retired? We don't have electricians. We don't have plumbers," she said.

Kraft-Tharp is trying to get ahead of what the Department of Labor projects will be huge shortages of electricians, welders, auto mechanics and medical assistants in the next decade.

Saranya Jones is one of the students in the class who helped build a house, which is for Habitat for Humanity.

"We look at pictures where we just started walls and you see our house and we're like 'Wow, we've come so far in a short period time.' I think pretty great."

Kraft-Tharp’s bill passed its first committee unanimously, WFOR-TV reported.

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