The 'Owl Box' Project: This Math Is For the Birds
Posted 10/02/2013 03:00PM

Algebra meets biology, meets carpentry, meets owl.

That's The "Owl Box" Project. In yet another York School expression of project-based learning, inspired by "design thinking," Math teacher Susan Neubert is working with her Algebra I students and some parents -- and with biology teacher Kim Kiest -- to build houses for barn owls.

The students had to get information about the correct size, then figure out how to cut the templates from large plywood pieces with a minimum amount of waste. Most of the wood was recycled from the abandoned tortoise enclosure.

Mrs. Neubert met with parents last Friday, and together they cut the wood for the boxes, based on the templates developed by the students using their math skills. The students are spending time before Fall Break using drills, power screwdrivers, glue, and clamps to assemble them. 

The students developed all logistics and strategies for the project.

"My goal was to create a project-based learning activity to make algebra applicable to 'real life.'  In addition, I believe it incorporates some of the pre-algebra skills practiced during first semester," said Mrs. Neubert.

 The parent helpers were: Yoojin Oh, Alex Eastman, Thanh Ly, Jesse Williams, and Elizabeth Congo. The tools were provided by Mr. Ly, Mrs. Neubert and Rod Neubert.