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Monumental Ratios: Scaling Math One Ratio at a Time

Project-based, inter-disciplinary learning has become an important element of the curriculum at The Center. Nowhere is this more evident than in a math design project carried out by the sixth grade class this fall.

Students, in preparation for their class trip to Washington, DC in October, examined blueprints of various monuments and memorials in the city, including the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and the Capital building. After gaining an understanding of how the structures were constructed, the students used measurements and applied proportions to build them. After constructing the models, they were then able to ­figure out the appropriate scale. It was an engaging and practical opportunity to reinforce what they had been learning in the classroom.

"The goal of the project was to help the students gain an understanding of the real-world implications of the math," sixth grade teacher Carol Brasfi­eld said. "And we were able to tie it into both our class trip to Washington, DC as well as The Center's own Campus Enhancement Plan in exciting and interesting ways."

Beyond designing their own scale monuments, the students also examined the plans of CEE's construction project and saw a presentation about it from Kathy

Williams of Johnson Favaro, the architecture firm that is working with The Center. The students were then given a budget that enabled them to purchase furnishings and technology for their designed "pop-up" classrooms.

In addition to using what they learned about scale, the students were also required to manage a budget that would allow them to best incorporate the most appropriate furnishings into their new classrooms. In addition to Carol, the students also worked with Matt Argüello, The Center's Director of Innovation, to 3D print the scaled version of their furniture for their model classrooms.

"Twenty-first century math learning experience focuses on creativity, innovation, critical thinking, problem solving, communication and collaboration," Carol said. "This project encompasses all of those things and was designed to help the students learn as they made choices, applied concepts, worked through discovery, struggled and succeeded."

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