Iowa City Community School District unveils new Geometry in Construction course

The new course will be implemented in the district high schools in the 2023-24 school year and allow students to participate in a combination of shop and math classes.


Grace Kreber

The Iowa City Community School District sign in Iowa City is seen on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022.

Virginia Russell, News Reporter

Geometry in Construction, a new course for students in the Iowa City Community School District, will approach a hands-on, trade-based model that offers students a combined curriculum of math and industrial technology.

The course, which is a mixture of math and construction, will be offered to high school students during the 2023-24 school year. It is the first of its kind to be taught in the school district.

District officials decided to implement the course after noting its success in other schools around the country. In summer 2022, the district sent math and industrial technology teachers to complete course training with the help of the Grant Wood Area Education. Educators must complete the mandatory training before teaching the class.

The training consisted of a three-day workshop where educators immersed themselves in the curriculum and participated in hands-on activities, much like the students would do, Dominic Audia, Career Technology Education Coordinator for the district, said.

Audia said the training provided an opportunity for educators to gauge their interest and see if the course would be a good fit. After the course received positive feedback from staff, he said the district submitted it for school board consideration.

“They were really excited about it,” Audia said. “The board approved it back in late November, and probably early December is when he got final approval.”

Julie Kennebeck is one of the three teachers in the district who participated in the training and will be teaching the course next year. As a math teacher at Iowa City West High School, she said she is looking forward to getting involved with the industrial component of the class.

“What makes me excited about it is the learning of the shop and the tools … Being able to do do-it-yourself type things, awareness of projects, and having the skill set to do it really excites me,” Kennebeck said.

The course will take place over a two-period block schedule and will be co-taught by a math and industrial technology teacher.

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Additionally, the course will count as a full geometry credit, and students must have completed Algebra I to enroll.

Audia said an appealing aspect of the course is its ability to have the project-based component of construction but still integrate math.

“They’re learning those construction technology skills concurrently while learning the math component, so we really like that piece of it,” Audia said.

Incorporating more trade-based curriculums into classes is an increasing trend in the school district.

In light of the rising demand for skilled trade workers, courses like this and the ACE Program, another industrial technology class, would prepare students for the trade workforce after high school.

“We have projects that the students will be working on…so they can use them in other more advanced classes or additionally their billing and techniques that we use in trades, so that’s really neat,” Audia said.

Audia said registration numbers for the course were fairly good, but he would like to see more students apply. He also emphasized the importance of recruiting girls, as he said it is challenging to get females in male-dominated fields like the construction trade.

However, he and Kennebeck both said they are prepared for the challenge.

“I think the fact that I, as a female teacher, am ready to dive in and learn the hardest things, to teach the shop classes,  and I looked at the list of kids who signed up for it, and there are female names on there, so I was excited,” Kennebeck said.

Awareness, said both educators, is vital to making the course thrive. For those still deciding whether or not to apply, the signup is still open, Audia said.

“This being our first year, we’re really excited about bringing this opportunity to kids in our district,” Audia said. “I think that once students are aware of the program, I think it’ll be a really popular event.”