Students learn geometry by rehabbing house

Lisa Bowers
The Mining Journal (Marquette)

Ishpeming — Students in Ishpeming High School’s geometry in construction class have started the year by putting lessons learned in their classroom to practical use.

They are beginning preliminary work on a project to rehabilitate a house across from the high school. Students and community leaders broke ground in December on the two-year project.

Marquette County Treasurer Anne Giroux said the Marquette County Land Bank Authority acquired the building, once a duplex, for the project.

The Cliffs/Eagle Mine Fund via the Community Foundation of Marquette County has provided a $50,000 grant toward completion of the project.

Course instructor Nate McFarren said the Ishpeming High School class will conduct many of its labs inside the building to demonstrate different elements of geometry in each phase of the building’s rehabilitation.

McFarren teaches a beginner course and an advanced course. He said he wants to generate more interest in this type of class statewide because the students seem receptive to the idea.

He said the beginner group will be doing a lot of the deconstruction on the structure, and will spend more time in the classroom on basic concepts.

“This class in particular, they do a lot of concept-based projects from their geometry lessons and try to turn it into a construction lesson,” McFarren said.

“For instance, today they are doing barricades and sawhorses. They learn how to use the speed square and figuring out angles, both in the shop and in the classroom.”

Student Linsey Giraud said she is looking forward to everything about the class.

“My dad was a construction worker when I was smaller. I took this class so that I would be able to learn about general construction because that house that we are working on may tell us what we want to be, maybe a contractor,” Giraud said.