Students put together house to develop math, other skills

Saturday, December 14, 2002

Daily Dunklin Democrat

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo.-- About 35 students from two Southeast Missouri schools put together a kit house in about two hours Thursday at Three Rivers Community College as they kicked off a project called "If I Had a Hammer."

Seventh-graders from Delta Junior High School in Deering, Mo., and students from Pemiscot County Vocational Technical School near Hayti, Mo., built the house, complete with windows, door, floor, siding, roof and front porch, as part of a special Missouri Tech Prep project overseen by TRCC.

Three Rivers president Dr. John Cooper and project leaders cut a red ribbon "opening" the house after the youngsters had finished it.

"If I Had a Hammer" is designed to develop skills in math, economics, leadership and teamwork. Missouri is the first state in the nation to adopt the house-building project on a statewide basis, according to Larry Kimbrow, associate dean of Career and Workforce Development at Three Rivers.

The students Thursday strapped on safety glasses and nail bags to construct the 8-by-11-by-15-foot house in about two hours. The prefabricated components were later disassembled and used again with a different group of students.

Missouri Tech Prep has bought two "If I Had a Hammer" house kits, each of which cost $49,000, to send on tour around the state.

Donnatha Pelts, the college's Tech Prep director, is coordinating the statewide effort.

By the end of the yearlong project, said Pelts, 22,400 Missouri teens will have worked on building the houses as an exercise in supplementing more traditional ways of teaching.

"The kids tackle lots of problems they may have doubted they could handle in a regular classroom setting," Pelts said.

Tech Prep groups are federally funded programs to improve and increase awareness of vocational education.

Missouri has 15 Tech Prep groups, each a consortium of public school districts, area vocational schools and nearby community colleges or apprenticeship programs.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: