Hands-on learning can definitely complement what is being taught from the textbook. Grade 9 math students at Parkside School have recently spent a few weeks doing just that as they worked at putting together designs for a new school for the community.
Teacher, Rocheal Howes, said the project involved the students conducting surveys and analyzing the data prior to planning their designs.
“Our Gr. 9 Math students were challenged with designing a new school that meets the needs of the students and the staff and they did all the research like conducting surveys and analyzing it,” said Howes.
On Monday, Jan. 13, the students, who had been working in teams, displayed their designs to a panel of judges at the school design pitch presentation.
Student Patrick Brooks said when his team first got started on the project, they were “all over the place with ideas.”
“After the survey, again we were all over the place, but we started with the gym and a small base area and worked around it,” said Brooks. “We added more entrances and don’t have one big, long hallway like the school has now. In our design, the hallways are in a Roman Three shape.”
The Town of Redcliff, which has land in its Eastside subdivision designated for a new middle school, has been part of the project that is in its second year and has been working with the students in planning their designs.
“The Town has land set aside for a school and they came and talked to the students about the project,” said Howes.
For some students, the project was a fun, hands-on way to learn about math skills, such as analyzing survey data and drawing to scale.
For Riley Keith, it was a great way to learn math.
“It was a fun project compared to what we normally do in math,” said Keith.
His team analyzed their survey results and designed a school that was easily accessible with a sitting area with a glass room for viewing sports games and other school events. He said it was important for his team’s design to have classrooms that are larger than what is currently at the school.
“It’s important to have larger classrooms. Now, the classrooms are 8 X 8 meters. We made them 11 X 11 so there would be room for storage and more desks,” he said, adding that their design also incorporates a science lab that is connected to the science classroom.
Jenson Blake said his team also wanted larger classrooms in the new school, as well as spaces for other learning opportunities.
“We wanted the classrooms to accommodate 25 or more students and we also put in our design a shop for woodworking and welding, and outdoor classrooms,” said Blake.
Prairie Rose School Division superintendent was one of the judges for the presentation pitch and said he was impressed with the students’ designs.
“This is the second year for this project and the point of it is there is a new school for Redcliff is in our Capital Plan. We wanted the students to think about how the new school would best serve the needs of the students, the teachers, and the staff,” said Clarke. “What needs are we trying to meet? Does the school meet the learning needs and not just comfort needs. Does it meet the needs of future students and staff? The project makes them think about these things. The designs are pretty good and I’m impressed.”
Howes said that the next step will be for the students to review the feedback from the judges.