Peshtigo students design and print out houses in seventh grade math

PESHTIGO – In their seventh grade math classes at Peshtigo Middle/High School, students have been working on volume and surface area of multiple shapes. Teacher Trevor Bloch extended his traditional math lessons to have students design their ideal homes, then make models of them with 3D printers. “During class students brought up the evolving three dimensional printer applications. Student dialogue moved into the idea, ‘How big can three dimensional printers be designed?’ Engineers are looking into increasing the scale and applicability of 3D printers,” Bloch explains. 

Math teachers put much thought and effort into showing students why math skills benefit us in many ways. “Students have varying interests and skill sets.” Bloch elaborates, “My job is not only to teach these students different math skills and concepts but also to show them how to use math with things they’re interested in and will experience in the future!” Teachers listen to students’ questions and comments, responding to them in how they teach. Student Anna Ferdon says, “Math class is a lot more interesting when we get to do projects and use real world examples. It helps me see how I can use this in my life.” 

To improve students’ curiosity and enthusiasm, Bloch encourages students to make their own house designs. Using software called Tinkercad, students can see the three dimensional layout of any objects they design. “Students were able to make their own design choices. No two houses looked the same. Each student then had their own mini houses to measure and make calculations from.” “We learned how to use dimensions to design a house,” says student Jordan Tirpik. “Using Tinkercad was a great experience for all of us. The houses we designed turned out amazing!” 

“Middle schoolers bring creativity and energy to the classroom that I love to embrace in my lessons! They have questions that help me steer my lessons to relate more to their lives, making math more fun to learn and to teach,” reveals Bloch. Teachers want students to learn the basics of the curriculum, but always focus on the bigger goal, preparing students to the highest degree possible, for successful futures. Seventh grade student Bentley Reed expressed, “I plan to be a meteorologist, and math is used a lot in meteorology. When analyzing velocity radar scans, I’ll have to convert knots to mph and to read wind patterns.”

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