YouthBuild and Saint-Gobain’s FIRST Scientist in the Classroom session

On August 7, 2014, Saint-Gobain Corporation and Worcester YouthBuild launched a new pilot program called “Scientists in the Classroom”.  The program is designed to bring a new level of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) training to YouthBuild students, as well as to provide Saint-Gobain scientists and engineers with the opportunity to share their expertise in a volunteer capacity within the classroom setting.

Chris Comeaux and Suresh Annavarapu, two scientists from Saint-Gobain’s Research & Development facility in Northboro, gave the first lesson which involved calculating an area and estimating the cost of a job.  Students were asked to quote a job for tiling the YouthBuild classroom. Exercises involved the following:

  • Step 1:  Calculate the area

–     Add some circle and rectangle areas that don’t need tiling

–     Measure the room

–     Choose a tile

–     How many boxes do you need?

–     How much will the tiles cost?


  • Step 2:  Estimate the entire job

–     How long will demo take?

–     How much prep time?

–     Any other materials needed?

–     How long to install the tile?

–     Any finish work?

–     Any other materials?

–     What is your total time?

–     What is your labor rate?

–     Is there a safety factor?

–     What could happen that could cause you to lose money on the job?

This topic involved a lot of math which is the least favorite subject for YouthBuild students.  As student Pedro Vazquez-Calderon expressed, “The scientists from Saint-Gobain made the lesson really fun and interesting.  I learned a lot from this lesson and it made me realize how important science and math really are to our construction project.”

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