Geometry in Construction class raises walls in Waukegan

Geometry in Construction students traveled to Waukegan on May 2 to raise the walls for a Habitat for Humanity home.

They have spent their school year building walls for a 1,200 square-foot ranch. Future homeowner, LaTonya Stamps, said she was thrilled.

"I am so excited that I was there with these wonderful students when my walls went up," she said. "I have never built a house before and I am learning so much."

Habitat for Humanity's goal is to build strength, stability, self-reliance and shelter in local communities. Habitat for Humanity Lake County Executive Director, Julie Donovan, said partnering with GBS is the perfect fit for her organization. 

"Not only will a Habitat family benefit from affordable homeownership, the students will benefit from a hands-on construction experience," she said. "We are grateful for the vision of the teachers and the school administration for their innovative and effective approach to learning while serving.

GBS is in its second year of hosting its Geometry in Construction course. Held every day, the course gets students working both inside the classroom with geometry and outside the classroom with construction. About 30 students are enrolled this year. 

Construction and Technology teacher, Dan Leipert, said he loves working side-by-side with the students.

"We form good relationships based on trust, empowerment and respect for one another as we build," he said. "A construction class relies on great teamwork, the ability to delegate tasks and leading others. It's also really rewarding to see how the math starts to resonate with the students as we start to build, adding authenticity and meaning to every lesson."

Math teacher, Brian Schmalzer, said he likes to see that "lightbulb moment" when the students realize a geometric concept is not just comething they do on a sheet of paper but something they use with skill on a job site.

"We want students to feel confident in their math and construction abilities, and understand the connectedness of the two fields," Schmalzer said.

Dr. Lauren Fagel, GBS Principal, said this interdisciplinary course provides the "best of both worlds."

"It's a rigorous academic experience and a hands-on service learning project," she said. "The teachers and students have done a phenomenal job in both realms." 

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Geometry in Construction class raises walls in Waukegan