Blog

Architects in the Making — Using Mathematical Concepts in Buildings

Students in Ms. Lee’s 4th grade math class at the North Tustin Campus were recently able to apply mathematical concepts they’ve learned to a real-world scenario in which they designed their own buildings.

The “Dear Sir/Madam Architect” assignment asked students to help Ms. Lee decide what type of learning complex she should build and how much it would cost her to do so. They were each given a $10 million budget and had specific requirements (in terms of what the building must contain) to which they needed to adhere. Each student designed a building that would serve a different purpose (e.g., literature, technology, music, video game design, etc.) than that of his or her peers.

While creating the layouts and overall construction plans for their buildings, Ms. Lee’s students incorporated mathematics skills they’ve acquired in addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, critical thinking and problem solving, use of a ruler, and modeling on paper. They also put their writing and communications abilities to practice, as each student turned in a final paper and gave a presentation to the class as to why his or her building was the best option for Ms. Lee to select.

Ms. Lee created this particular assignment because it combines various subject matters into one project, allowing students to apply what they’ve learned in real-world situations.

“To see their learning come to life is really important,” she said. “The communities around us are continually growing, and [this project] is really tapping into that and making them realize all that goes in to creating a building or creating a new home.”

The students enjoyed being able to use their creativity to construct their layouts, budget for all of the necessary items they would need inside of their buildings, and plan all of the remaining details that factor in to executing a successful architectural project in the real world.

Fourth-grader Lily J. loves to sing and put her passion to use as she designed a building that is specifically geared toward students wishing to further their musical pursuits — and she applied the math Ms. Lee has taught her this year in doing so.

“We get to use a lot of things that we learned, and we get to use them to build a big and fun building,” Lily said. “We [use rulers to find] the area of things because you have to put them in certain boxes — that’s helped me a lot.”

During this assignment, though students worked separately, they were able to discuss their plans aloud with Ms. Lee and also talk with their peers throughout the entire process. Such a boisterous atmosphere is one Ms. Lee certainly embraces and one that benefited students for this particular assignment.

“We don’t need to have a silent classroom for learning to take place,” she said.

Leave a comment

Shelby Wagner - 1st Grade Teacher Fairmont Historic AnaheimTop Teacher & Skating Champion
Shelby “My favorite part of being a teacher is the children I get to teach.”
  • Is one of the head teachers for the Fountain Valley Artistic Skating Club, teaching regional and national champions. She also teaches beginner classes every Saturday morning.
  • Every year, her students are amazed to find that their teacher has a life outside of the classroom.
“I love feeling like I’m part of a family [at Fairmont].”
Keira Kamath - 5th Grade Fairmont Anaheim HillsScience & Tennis Superstar
keira “I like how there are so many different specialty classes at Fairmont Anaheim Hills, like art, music, PE, science lab, computer lab, and Spanish.”
  • She would like to be a professional tennis player when she grows up, or maybe a doctor.
  • Loves dance and plays the piano
  • Her favorite class is science “because you get to figure out stuff, and I like to do experiments.”
Nicholas Aghaian - 7th Grade Fairmont Historic AnaheimKicking His Way to Med School
nicolas“The teachers and the amount of support they provide to not only me, but to the whole entire community here at Fairmont is probably what I like most about attending Fairmont Historic Anaheim.”
  • He would like to be a professional soccer player, or a doctor specializing in the field of sports medicine.
  • Enjoys basketball, piano, and soccer pitch.
  • His favorite subject is math “because I like to be challenged, and math is full of challenges.”
Gianluca De Gregoris – 2nd Grade Fairmont North TustinDancing Toward Greatness
dancing"What I like most about Fairmont is that I get to learn and meet new friends.”
  • He wants to be a professional dancer when he grows up.
  • Is trained in ballet and ballroom dancing.
  • Loves writing and creating new stories.
Nicole Heyman - Kindergarten Teacher Fairmont Anaheim HillsLaying a Foundation for Lifelong Learning
Nicole "The best part about teaching at Fairmont is being able to work with a diverse group of students who are all incredibly talented. It is amazing to be able to challenge students at such a young age and watch these children grow throughout the year.”
  • Loves camping, reading, and traveling
  • Her students love learning random things about her – like the fact that when she was in kindergarten she wanted to be Spiderman when she grew up.
  • Her proudest moments are the times when a student on campus is excited to see her, oftentimes telling her that she’s “the best teacher in the world.” “I live for those moments.”
“I choose to teach at Fairmont because of the sense of community, as well as the drive for our students to succeed.”
DJ Clovis - Music Teacher Fairmont North TustinRunning to the Rhythm
DJ Clovis “I get to work with amazing staff, faculty, parents, and most importantly, students!”
  • Teaches music to all grades — from pre-kindergarten through 8th grade
  • Coaches (or has coached) football, basketball, and Run Club
  • Plays bass trombone
  • NJHS Conflict Resolution Coach
  • He has run 15 marathons and 4 ultra marathons.
“The best part of teaching at Fairmont is the autonomy — being able to create a program that fits all of my students. At Fairmont North Tustin, I get to help with a lot of different activities.”