Jun 20, 2012 / 5:00 am
Pool project at Constable Neil Bruce Middle School
Making math exciting for grade 8 students isn't an easy task, but a teacher at Constable Neil Bruce Middle School managed to do it.
Kevin Dent has always struggled to teach the concept of volume and surface area to his students. Volume and surface area?? In most cases the two topics must teeter on boring to most teens. Not this year.
This year Dent has tried something new. He told his class they were going to design an aquatic centre for West Kelowna - a pool, now that's surface area and volume, more importantly, for grade 8 students, it's cool.
"So we went to the H2O centre, to check that out and when we got back I asked them, 'what do we need to know to solve this problem of building a pool'."
The kids suggested they would need to know how much water would be needed for the pool, along with who would be using the centre and what kinds of facilities should be considered.
The students were placed into groups and asked to draw up a blue print and construct a model.
The five week project developed designs that included flow riders, water slides, saunas and even a giant rock to be used for indoor cliff jumping.
Dent also wanted to authenticate the project, by inviting West Kelowna Mayor and council to view the projects.
"If I was going to design a real pool for West Kelowna I would get the council members opinions and feedback."
The middle school teacher bumped into Mayor Doug Findlater at a Warriors game earlier in the year and asked if he would be interested in meeting with the students.
"He said yes and organized the rest of the council members to come in. Also when I told the kids the Mayor was coming they were really excited, and they produced top quality work."
Findlater says he believes the school project is brilliant for mathematics.
"They must look at dimensions, litres of water, heating options and location. They are also designing age friendly facilities, with baby pools and senior pools as well."
The Mayor did have some words of advice for the students on their projects.
"I suggested that for the future they look at geothermal heating, some have thought of solar, but not geothermal. We do have geothermal buildings in West Kelowna for energy efficiency."
Although the students did not calculate budget into the project, Findlater says financial considerations are an important part of building an aquatic centre for the community.
"I think it's a number of years away, (before we see a centre like this in West Kelowna), remember the H2O centre was a 45 million dollar facility. Here in West Kelowna we are struggling as a new municipality to do really basic infrastructure like roads, sidewalks and traffic lights."
Findlater says there is one old arena and one old swimming pool that need to be brought up to standard.
"We will be spending our millions of dollars fixing up old infrastructure for some period of time and that is a pretty substantial investment."
However, just because a new aquatic centre isn't in West Kelowna's near future, doesn't mean the mayor won't be encouraging more student projects like this one.
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