So We Want to Build Some Bookshelves

Teachers are used to hearing the question “When am I actually going to use this in real life?” Maybe it relates to a book the students are reading or maybe a math problem. Regardless of what it is, students always wonder if what they are learning is something that they will use again, or if it is strictly for that day’s assignment. However over at Midway Middle School, John Choins and his 8th grade Pre-AP Math and Algebra 1 classes are quickly finding out just how important algebra is to their everyday life.

Students worked together to calculate the cost and dimensions of the shelves.
Students worked together to calculate the cost and dimensions of the shelves.

MMS parent, Wade Loudamy donated his time to assemble the bookshelves for the students. The students were then able to paint the bookshelves, in Midway colors (of course!)

Before the bookshelf assembly could take place the students had to go to work writing equations, using properties of math and doing all the necessary measurements and calculations to figure out how much wood would be needed and how much it would cost including all parts like wood, paint, and all painting materials (i.e. brushes, trays, rollers, etc.)

“My students sit at tables for collaboration and communication and with six people at each of the five tables, it can get crowded with all of the supplies that the students bring to class,” Choins said.

IMG_0488These shelves are something the classroom needed to hold all of their “stuff.” The shelves help alleviate all of the clutter and ease the student’s minds about their stuff being in the way or stepped on, and they ease Choins’ fears of a student accidently tripping.

This project helped the students test their algebra skills in a real life application process. They had to create a plan, use algebraic equations, and calculate costs and dimensions for the bookshelves.

“Hearing the students comment about how algebra is used in real life was the greatest benefit from this project,” Choins said.

This grant is named in honor of Quality Brickworks in recognition of their faithful support. To find out more about the Education Foundation, visit or Midway Foundation on Facebook.