Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tried it Tuesday - Exploring Area & Perimeter

This week, we are working on area and perimeter of rectangles and squares. I am trying something new, so I wanted to link up for Holly's Tried-it Tuesday!

This lesson kind of came to me last year in the middle of teaching area and perimeter, so I made one of those last minute changes to the lesson plan that we are all so familiar with. It went well, but I knew if I really planned with this idea in mind, it would be much better. So this year, when we got there, I made an actual lesson plan around the spur-of-the-moment idea I had last year. I am super excited about how well this lesson went, so I wanted to share it with you!

We always seem to struggle with the difference between area and perimeter and when to use units vs. square units for measuring. Since our floor is covered in handy-dandy 12x12 tiles, I used them to show life-sized examples of these concepts. I started by taping off 3 different sized rectangles and 2 squares on the floor, spaced apart so there's plenty of room for students to work in small groups. Before we started, we did a quick review of what area and perimeter were. I had at least a few students who already knew the definitions, but no one remembered how to find them. (Which was *perfect* because I wanted to start from scratch here!)

Students worked in groups of 3-4, rotating through the 5 shapes. First, I asked them to figure out the perimeter of their shape. Most of them did this pretty easily by counting the edges of the tiles around the shape. Then, I asked them to write an equation to show the perimeter. Most of them figured out immediately to add up the four sides. The only groups who had trouble were the two with squares, so I worked with them until they had it.

Then I asked them to find the area, which they again did by counting the tiles in the middle of the shape - exactly as I expected. Then, we worked together to figure out that they could multiply the length x width to get the area. There were a few skeptics in the room who wouldn't believe it always worked until they tried all of the shapes. I loved it!

I had a "Challenge" shape taped off too, but we ran out of time, so we will be working on it tomorrow. Hopefully, we will be able to figure out how to find the area of this shape on their own with the knowledge we have built today!

I whipped up a quick answer sheet for students to show their thinking as they traveled to the different shapes. You can grab a free copy by clicking the photo below!

That's it for today. How do you teach area and perimeter?


  1. I love the hands on aspect! I have used Cheez-its in the past since we don't have tile floors in our classroom - but we do in the hallway ... hmm...

  2. Ohhh...Letter C is tricky! Some of our best inspirations come right in the middle of a lesson some times. Love it!

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  3. I really want to try this next year. I ran out of time this year before we had to begin test prep. What type of tape did you use on the floor?
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  4. I use the floor tiles a lot for area and perimeter (when I used to teach math). I have never tried this with the different shapes and tape though. Pinning for when I teach math again! Thanks for linking up! :)
    Fourth Grade Flipper


We LOVE to read your comments, and prefer to reply by email so that you will receive our responses. Make sure you're not a "No Reply Blogger" or leave your email address in your comment.Thanks for stopping by! :)