Photo Credit: Isabella Thorpe/Achona Online

Although the relevance of math in the physical world is often a topic of debate, Geometry teacher Jessica Lamm explored the benefits of geometrical knowledge to reveal the integral part it plays in everyday life for her students. Replacing the final exam, the project requires students to apply the basic and fundamental concepts of geometry into real world examples. The task instructed students to create three to scale models of buildings in Downtown Tampa; the three sets together comprise a full scale model of Downtown Tampa. Using blueprints and footprints, the students find the area and volume computations to build up the model structures.

Lamm has been integrating this project into the geometry course curriculum for four years in her teaching career. In the past, however, she was restricted to the tools of toothpicks and paper to construct the models.

“The level of the girls’ understanding, along with the technological advantage of the three-dimensional printer, brought the project to new lengths,” says Lamm.

The geometry honors classes were given four weeks to prepare and work on their models. To gain more architectural insight, some students went above and beyond in order to receive accurate measurements. Freshman Lorraine Johnson contacted the building she was designing to gain the blueprint plans.

“We did not know the dimensions of the buildings, so we used our bodies as ‘rulers’ to estimate the height of the buildings,” says Freshmen Grace Constantini and Isabella Piboolnuruk.

The students were able to act as architects by using the geometry concepts that were taught in class to use blueprints, develop scale models, design the models, and build them up.

Freshman Caroline Lamoreux says of her geometry project experience, “We thought desmos was difficult, but then we got to sketch them; sketch-up is the bane of my existence.”

Since the three sets are working together to construct Downtown Tampa, there has been a great deal of intersect communication which, therefore, makes the project extremely interactive.

As she is printing the models, Lamm says with a soft smile, “Math is usually seen as a very individual subject and working in groups and in between sets has enable them to recognize the benefits of teamwork.”

The final piece, which includes all of the volume measurements and a video journal that narrates their progress and the relationship the buildings have with geometry, is due on May 24, the day of the math final.

Sophomore Brianna Benito says, “Through this project, I have been able to see the complexity of all of the buildings in Downtown and how they are able to make them so well-designed using geometry. For example, Gelmi [Pasquier] and I did the Suntrust Financial Center which had a pyramid shape on the top of the building and, using geometry, we found the height of it and really saw how complicated it was.”