CSU California Academic Partnership Program

Dimensions: An Integrated Design and Math Curriculum

Number of students directly affected: 100
Partners: John Muir High School; Art Center College of Design; California Institute of Technology; and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Dimensions offers 100 ninth graders attending John Muir High School an opportunity to combine their interest in art and design with the study of core academic subjects in a unique school within a school. Students learn mathematics through hands-on, design-based projects developed by a team of high school teachers working with staff from the Art Center College of Design, California Institute of Technology, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

This year, students took part in a design competition - tower-building and bridge-building -- that required using mathematical concepts. An egg-drop event, where students had to design a container that would protect an egg from breaking when dropped from the top of a building, was also included. The project taught students how to use the slope of the tangent to the curve to predict velocity at a given time. students also learned how to meet design parameters with this project.

The lightest, most beautiful, best-crafted containers that succeeded in protecting the egg received special awards.

A long-term group project -- designing and building a scale model dream home -- taught students how to calculate area and perimeter formulas, as well as spreadsheet budgeting, floor plan and scale plan development, and ways of measuring the effects of climate on the dream home.

Three field trips to the Art Center College of Design capitalized on student's interest in art and gave them a direct link to their math-oriented design projects. The Art Center also provided scholarships for some of the CAPP students to the prestigious Saturday School of the Arts Program.

Students experienced math in the workplace when they took a field trip to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, observed the space craft assembly area and the space craft flight operation center. They toured the CAD/CAM facility to see and talk to designers at work.

Dimension introduced a Homework Assistance Program this year. Volunteer tutors from California Institute of Technology and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory met with students three nights a week. The Homework Assistance Program took place in two local libraries. Positive relationships developed between the students who used the program and the volunteers who worked with them.

 


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Last Updated: January 10, 2005