Members of the College of Education faculty joined with faculty in the College of Technology and a private company this past year to assess the effectiveness of some real-world experience in helping youngsters learn basic math skills.

Dr. Chris Christman, chairman of special services and leadership studies, and Dr. Marilyn Dishman-Horst, assistant professor in curriculum and instruction, worked with faculty in the Department of Engineering Technology and Crossland Construction Co. to organize an “If I Had a Hammer” project for sixth graders from Pittsburg Community Middle School.

The students learned practical math skills that they applied to the construction of an 8-foot by 10-foot house. The If I Had a Hammer curriculum and workshop, based in Franklin, Tenn., aims to show students that math really does matter in everyday life.

“The thing that really is impressive is that it makes math concepts relevant,” Christman said. “We’re moving more toward preparing kids for 21st century employment skills. This program fits right in with that.”

Christman said PSU is now assessing the effectiveness of the program by looking at pre- and post-tests given to the students. The tests will quantitatively show how well the program teaches state-required math skills.