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Article / Learning Curve

Learning Curve.

Can carpentry help school children master mathematics?

Students learn information faster and retain it longer when they understand how that information is used in the real world. Working a cash register, for example, is a better way of learning addition and subtraction than just reading a textbook. 



In the Washington, Missouri school district, teachers participate in “externships,” having them spend a day inside a particular industry to see how various on-the-job skills can be used to teach essential classroom lessons. 

“It also gets them out of the school and shows them all the different career choices that are out there. Teachers can be a big influence on kids and help them find their calling,” said business representative Scott Byrne, who is also an elected member of the Washington school board.  

Byrne recently arranged a day for teachers at the Carpenter’s training center, where they got a hands-on look at how we teach professional carpentry to apprentices. 

“I had no idea the level of math that’s required for carpentry,” Dr. Mary Robertson, principal at Augusta Elementary School said. “We were using trigonometry and Pythagorean theorem on layouts. Now we can show our kids how to chalk a line and how math is applied in practical application. It’s better than just doing workbook exercises.”

Studies have shown that students, especially in younger grades, get more excited about learning and become better at decision making when common, everyday tasks are incorporated into classroom lessons.

So, the answer is yes! Carpentry can be an excellent tool for taking textbook drudgery and converting it into something that stimulates and challenges young minds.