Alpena high school students learn geometry through construction | News, Sports, Jobs

News Photo by Darby Hinkley Joshua Hahn and Garrett Soltysiak work together to complete the construction of a staircase in the under construction geometry classroom at Alpena High School.

ALPENA — Applying mathematical principles to real life, these students learn geometry through construction.

Alpena High School students in the Construction Geometry course learn math in a classroom, then apply what they’ve learned to construction in the shop next to that classroom.

“I love this class,” said Rylee Hartman. “I like being able to learn how to use tools. If we didn’t have math lessons with it, I wouldn’t understand.

Kara Gehrke teaches math in the classroom and Jason Loyer teaches the construction aspect.

“They’re working on a phased build,” said Loyer, who teaches construction and megatronics at AHS. “So they all had to figure out the geometry behind it.”

News Photo by Darby Hinkley Rylee Hartman and Ethan Bradbury assemble their stairs in Alpena High School’s under construction geometry class.

Gehrke said they worked on the learning slope and students could apply what they learned in class to their stair builds.

“They see these connections between the things they do in their daily lives,” Gehrke said. “It’s really cool too, because the students help each other a lot.”

She said a lot of the things they learn about geometry in construction can be applied to working on construction projects at home or on a job site.

“Every problem they do in the world of math links to something they could do with construction,” Gehrke said. “It really makes them think, ‘OK, how do I use this?’ It’s cool to see. It’s a lot of fun. It’s really cool for them to learn skills that will go beyond high school.

In addition to learning and applying geometry, students in this class also help the community. Each year, they designate a community project to work on together.

Last year the class made Little Library book cabinets which were placed around Alpena. Each small library has the student’s name engraved on it, so they can see their work in the community and be proud of that contribution. The class has also made deer blinds in previous years.

In the spring, they plan to create greenhouses for the community along the river behind The Armory building in downtown Alpena.

“It’s something that can have a positive impact on the community,” Gehrke said.

Lisa Rosenbeck, a math teacher at Alpena High School, led the program for several years. She said the Geometry in Construction course had been offered for over eight years.

“Last year was the first year we did a project in the city,” Rosenbeck said.

She said it was good for the students “because they can see it in the community. They are proud and owners of it, because each small library bears their name.

Small libraries are a “take a book, leave a book” system where people can borrow books at their convenience.

“There’s one on Garden Street opposite the school,” she added. “There’s one at Ella White’s at the main entrance. There’s one at the dog park in town. There’s one at Bob-A-Lu Market in Herron, and at Wilson Township Park, Male’s Grocery, and then at Connie’s Cafe in Ossineke.

Rosenbeck said the classroom and the community project are great experiences for the students.

“It also gives kids a different perspective,” Rosenbeck said of the class. “Because when they see how they’re going to apply it in the future, they do a lot better. They see how it can be used. It answers this question: “When will I use it?” »

Contact Darby Hinkley at or call 989-358-5691.

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