Martinsville fifth graders hammer down on learning real-world application of STEM

Students built small house Tuesday

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Some Martinsville students are learning about science, technology, engineering and math in a unique way.

On Tuesday, fifth-graders at Albert Harris Elementary School built a small house in the school's gym.

The project is part of a national program called "If I Had A Hammer."

Founder Perry Willson was at the elementary school Tuesday teaching the kids about building homes as a way to show them how their STEM learning in school can be applied in the real world.

"We work with over a million kids nationally and we teach the application of math," Wilson said. "Math is not just on a sheet of paper. It's real. It's alive. It's in front of us every day. So we're trying to get the kids prepared."

Laurie Witt is the STEM teacher at Albert Harris Elementary School.

She said Tuesday's house-building is the culmination of The Big Inch program in which the fifth-graders have been involved.

"We have been using The Big Inch program in our classroom and students have been learning fractions as it pertains to measurement," Witt explained.

"This has helped students learn this much easier than we have in the past because they see the real-world connection," Witt said.

Volunteers with Eastman Chemical Company were on hand in the gym Tuesday to help the students.

Wilson works with Eastman Chemical Company to bring his "If I Had A Hammer" program to schools, so Eastman partnered with Martinsville City Schools to bring the program to Albert Harris Elementary School.

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