FAQ

District

Where can I find more information?

Please feel free to call us at (970) 219-5020 or email scott@contextuallc.com

What are some of the characteristics of the teachers that teach Geometry in Construction?

1)Teachers need to understand that programs like this requires extra time and if they are already committed to many other things (coaching, etc) this may put too much burden on them.
2)Teachers must be hungry for change.
3)We have found that age or experience in the classroom does not predict success.
4)Both teachers must respect each other’s class and the need for it.  Both teachers must be equal in their commitment to go above and beyond as they launch the program during the first year.
5)Creativity is a characteristic to look for in the teacher team.
6)Both teachers must like kids.
7)Teachers must be of the mind set that when they teach they are always evaluating themselves to see how they can improve the lesson for the next time.
8)It is a plus if the math teacher has a personal interest in the construction field such as they like to do home improvements themselves.
9)The construction teacher needs to be production driven.  They must view their classroom as a business and be comfortable in producing a product that is to be sold.
10)Realize that the right pair of teachers will need support from their building principal or from the CTE director.  They need to feel as if the team is more than just the two of them.  The pair of teachers need someone to work alongside of them to remove potential road blocks at the building and district level.

How do you encourage teachers (math or construction) to team up to come to a training?

1)The teachers that have attended were wanting to change their teaching methods.  They realize that there are groups of students that they are not reaching.
2)Offering college credit to teachers for attending.
3)Provide opportunities for the pair of teachers to be together.  Such as a planning day, attending a conference, or eating a pizza over lunch with an administrator.  Some of the best planning and bonding times occur in a car or at a conference.
4)Get a teacher that has been successful in this type of program in front of them to explain the benefits. This is especially true for math teachers.  Having a math teacher inservice where some activities are shared can ignite an interest.  Teachers are wanting to be part of something successful and need to see role models.  Contact us if you are interested in this.

Do I have to build a house?

No. Other capstone projects are okay. However, the project must be big enough to hook the students. A school in Texas is building a smaller hunting/deer cabin. Schools have used elaborate playhouses.

What other school districts are using this program?

Call us at (970) 219-5020 to find out if there is a district in your area

Can a district request individual district training?

Yes, we conduct district trainings in additional to regional trainings. Call us at (970) 219-5020 to find out the details.

Does the math teacher need to teach construction?

Yes. We find it more manageable and fun when the math teacher is involved on the build site. The construction teacher can teach the math teacher anything necessary related to the construction site.

Does the construction teacher need to teach the math?

No. He/she needs to be willing to learn/participate in the geometry class.

How do I register for professional development?

How does the cost of this training compare to books or other trainings?

Since a geometry problem bank is included in the training, you do not need to purchase textbooks. Geometry in Construction implementation compares favorably to Project Lead the Way.

Does the math teacher need to know how to build?

No…just a willingness to learn. We suggest that the construction teacher instruct the math teacher on the needed skills during planning prior to students arriving.

Do I need to bring a math teacher to the training?

Yes…he/she is VITAL for the success of this program.

If I attend the 5-day training, what do I receive?

You receive a brief introduction to team building, cooperative group learning, list of needed tools, checklist of who in the district needs to be contacted, geometry problem bank, geometry activities, geometry quizzes and tests, inspiration, and day-by-day instructions on how to make this program work for you.

I see that you offer 2-day training’s and 5-day training’s. What is the difference?

The 2-day training is for teachers to learn how to develop their own contextualized programs in any CTE area (Cosmetology, Consumer & Family Studies, Business, Automotive Technology, Industrial Technology, Trade and Industry, and Construction). The 5-day training specifically trains administrators and teachers on how to implement Geometry in Construction. In the 5-day training you will receive the complete curriculum. 

Do I need additional insurance?

This depends upon your district. We recommend that you contact your district safety and risk management personnel. As for our program, we carry a builder’s risk policy for additional liability coverage.

Can I buy the geometry problem bank?

We give the problem bank out to all participants of the 5-day training session.

Do I need a shop?

No. We build outside in Colorado. You simply need an area to build on, as well as a place to store tools/lumber (e.g., an old semi-trailer).

Can I visit your school to see what you do?

Yes…we teach the class every day. Call 970-219-5020 (Scott) or 970-744-1048 (Tom) to set up a visit or email us at scott@contextuallc.com

Nuts and Bolts

How are you different than other programs that build a house?

We build with mainstream 9th and 10th grade geometry students. Many other programs only allow select 11th and 12th graders. We teach all the rigorous geometry while some programs only teach the trade math.

Is the math teacher involved in construction?

Yes. However, he/she only works on items on the house that he/she is comfortable with. Many times the construction teacher will teach the math teacher a short lesson on some aspect of construction during the common plan.

How many students are involved, and how long do they work each day?

We have 170 students involved in the building process. We have about 75% of all geometry sections of the high school involved in the class. The students work about 1.5 hours of the 3-hour class on the house.

How many credits does a student earn over the coarse of a year in Geometry in Construction?

The only thing that is different from a regular Geometry or regular Construction class is the delivery method of materials. We still cover all of the same objectives and standards for both classes. Upon completion each student receives one full credit of geometry and one full credit of construction for their transcript. Both of these credits count toward the graduation requirement of three full math credits and one half credit of applied arts.

What does a student’s schedule look like who is enrolled in Geometry in Construction?

Students at our high school are on an alternating block schedule. They would normally be in a geometry class for 90 minutes every other day and in a regular construction class for 90 minutes every other day. Our students spend two 90 minute blocks with us every other day (no extra time above the regular classes).

Where do you build the house, and how long does it take?

We build the house on school grounds using a combination of traditional “stick built” techniques and manufactured home industry techniques. We typically begin construction in late October and finish prior to the end of the school year in May.

Building a house is expensive. How do you pay for it?

We wrote grants, used curriculum textbook money, and asked the district to fund the initial start-up of $30,000. After the initial start-up, we no longer receive funding from the district. We sell the home at completion and the proceeds pay for the following year’s building materials and program cost.

How do you meet the “highly qualified” component of NCLB?

The math teacher instructs the geometry portion, and the construction teacher teaches the construction class.

What is your class size?

We have 20 students in geometry and 20 in construction, for a total of 40 students between two teachers each period.

How do you keep all 40 students working on the house?

We use employability cards, which are used to assign tasks and grade students based upon task completion, craftsmanship, teamwork, and clean-up. The teachers divide the responsibilities for tracking employability cards.

What math textbook do you use?

We use a 200-page problem bank that is split into 8 units that was written by Moore.

What is the safety procedure?

We conduct “just in time safety.” We train students just before the tool/activity is used.

Is the geometry rigorous?

Yes. Look at our data for state test scores. Students can continue on in the math sequence into Algebra 2, etc. We meet all the geometry standards.

How do you grade students?

In the math class, we have homework as normal, quizzes, and individual tests. The tests are about 50% application and 50% naked math. Every test has an extensive review of older material and of Algebra 1. On the construction side of the class, employability cards are used to grade students.

What are the student pre-requisites?

No construction experience is necessary. The pre-requisite for Geometry in Construction is the same as regular geometry; Algebra 1.

Where do you get your building plans?

We are required to have engineered plans. We cannot have our students draw them. We have a partnership with industry, and they provide the plans free to us. You would need to develop a partnership or purchase the plans out right.

What inspections are required of the house?

We are required to have inspections similar to those of any builder. We build to the IRC Code. For us in Colorado, we have the option of state inspections which allows us to build a home for anywhere in the state. You could have city or county inspections as applicable.

I know you build at school, but what do you build on?

We build on a trailer frame. However, building on cribs is a great option. When it comes time to move the house, a lowboy tractor trailer rig is used.

How many females are enrolled in Geometry in Construction?

In our first year we had 22%.  Now, as of 2008-09, we have 42% enrolled.  We anticipate the percent to increase to near 50% for the 2009-10 school year.   This is an exceptional percent of females in a non-traditional career path.

Do students build through all phases of the building?

Yes. Students are responsible for every aspect and every facet of the construction.