Arts students find ‘key’ to applying algebra

Students give presentation on 3D printing

It’s not the stage performance you would expect at Butler Tech School of the Arts. This time, students stepped into the spotlight to showcase their math, technology, and business skills to local business owners.

Math teacher Katie Powers developed a challenge for her Algebra II students based on an article that indicated how nearly half of all small businesses would shut down within five years of opening. The School of the Arts students, who are very passionate about the Hamilton business community, decided they could help by working with businesses to get the word out.

Their solution was to use 3D printing to create a key chain with a business logo on it. Liz Hayden, Director of Economic Development for the City of Hamilton, reached out to the small business community to see which might be interested in working with a student team. More than two dozen businesses responded.

Students first had to connect with their business and get to know them better. They learned that working directly with the owner and understanding their personality could help to influence their artwork and logo design.

Then… it was time for some serious algebra!

The students had to learn how to use Google Sketchup to create a 3D printed logo that could serve as a promotional item for their key chain. One of the greatest challenges was taking a flat logo and using precise measurements to bring it to life as a three-dimensional object that could be printed.

Student with business partner

3rd Street Music

Powers explains that math can provide students with a framework to develop abstract thinking, whether it is solving complex equations or graphing polynomial functions.

“Students come to my classroom with a variety of math experiences in their past, and many are not positive,” Powers said. “Through this project, I hoped to spark students’ interest in reasoning abstractly and quantitatively, while persevering in solving a complex problem, motivated in part knowing that they would have a concrete 3D-printed keychain as a final product.”

The completed key chains were presented to business owners as a keepsake for their involvement in the project.

Butler Tech would like to thank the following businesses who participated in this Project-Based Learning opportunity:

·         3rd Street Music

·         The Almond Sisters

·         Amantra

·         CDA

·         CORE

·         The Father’s House

·         Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce

·         Henry’s Candy

·         High St. Cafe

·         InsideOut Studio

·         Lemon Grenade

·         LifeSpan

·         The Main Look

·         MK Dental

·         Pop Revolution

·         Renaissance Fine Art Supplies

·         Richard’s Pizza

·         Sara’s House

·         Secretly Shabby

·         Sherry’s Petals

·         SIlverWing Sewing

·         The Studio

·         Sweden Creme

·         The Village Seamstress

Students with business partners

The Father’s House

Students with business partners

The Main Look

Students with business partners

Sara’s House