Despite the heat and humidity, 36 geometry and CTE teachers from across the state gathered in Pflugerville the week of August 3-7, 2015 to attend Geometry in Construction (GiC) training sponsored by the Texas Regional Collaboratives and Fluor. Seventeen of these teachers were new to the GiC program and attended a four-day session that included an introduction to the GiC curriculum, team building activities, building stairs, utilizing building plans to cooperatively build a balsa wood house and construction of a playhouse. Districts in attendance were Bryan ISD, Como-Pickton ISD, Hardin-Jefferson ISD, Houston ISD, Lampasas ISD, Lumberton ISD, Splendora ISD, Tom Bean ISD, and Wylie ISD.
The other 19 attendees were returning GiC teachers who attended a day and a half long follow-up session that allowed them time to network and discuss implementation challenges and solutions. They also built a playhouse based on a new plan which included a gabled roof. Both of the playhouses were given away as door prizes to participants. Districts attending GiC follow-up training this year include Comal ISD, Glen Rose ISD, Hawkins ISD, Kountze ISD, Midway ISD, Northside ISD, Pflugerville ISD, Quitman ISD, and Spring ISD.
Held at Hendrickson High School in Pflugerville ISD, a GiC campus, the workshop also included time to visit Hendrickson’s 2014-2015 student-built, GiC Tiny Home. New GiC participants also visited Pflugerville High School’s GiC project house while those attending the follow-up session traveled to Connally High School to view their campus project. This allowed both new and returning participants a chance to consider construction projects they may want to undertake with their own students. Teachers found the training to be “unforgettable, fun-filled, super-educational” and a “practical application of math”. Teachers also indicated that even if they are unable to implement a double-blocked, team taught Geometry in Construction class this year they plan to use the strategies and activities they learned during the training in their geometry or construction classes.
GiC is a high school program, which began in 2005 in Loveland, CO by math and CTE teachers, Tom Moore and Scott Burke. It integrates contextualized learning into both geometry and construction classes that are taken simultaneously by high school students. The teams of teachers work collaboratively to integrate the curricula and instruction throughout the year. Teachers who participated in the training received all of the instructional materials required to replicate this program in their school. Along with materials, there were many hands-on math activities, construction work, and great information about implementing this course for participants to take home.