It's Workshop Wednesday and I'll be focusing on AREA today! I have lots of fun and engaging ideas to share with you today!
**Disclosure: I promise I do not work for 3M, although I would like to!
Post-Its fit PERFECTLY on graph paper making it a great manipulative for students! I placed 5 different size sticky notes and numbered them on the graph paper. They had to calculate the area on their own paper. If you look at the picture on the bottom left you see a student using the "array" method to calculate the area. The student on the bottom right lifted the sticky note to count the boxes. When I observed this, we discussed different strategies for determining the area.
MORE Post-It uses!!! Do you know that chart paper that has the squares (close up on bottom)? This paper holds those sticky treasures perfectly too! This is a great model to break apart the shape.
As a challenge (and one more use of sticky notes!), I gave my students two different size Post-Its and a specified area to find. They worked in groups to solve. Most groups had different shapes or different amounts of each size of sticky note, but they all arrived at the same area. Again, a teachable moment to demonstrate shapes can have the same area, but not look the same.
A really cool observation I made was students realizing the 3"x3" sticky notes had an area of 9 and the 2"x3" sticky notes had an area of 6, so they just used multiples and factors to determine how many of each they would need to get the specified area. Much faster and smart thinking! That makes me an excited and proud teacher when I see math transfer over to different concepts!
One of my favorite ways to teach area of an irregular shape is to have students find the area of their shoe! First of all, they think taking off their shoe and tracing it is fun! haha! After they trace their shoe they shade in all the "whole" squares one color and shade in the "less than one whole" squares another color. I have them count all the whole squares, then count all the less than whole squares and divide by two, and finally, add the two numbers together. We discuss when measuring irregular shapes it is an estimate and they will answer with "about _____". There are some squares that are almost filled and some that are barely filled, so together they almost even out (which is why count them as half).
Some students wrote the numbers in each box to keep track, and others just placed a dot to count.
Of course, I have to model this lesson, so I traced my heel! :) Notice the difference between their shoe drawing and mine? I don't have as much to count!
*Just another reason to wear heels!
For fun, I thought I'd have them find the area of their name...it was much harder to make those letters than they thought! If you want a challenging activity, this is it!
Our students have to be able to "cut" a shape apart and find the area. I made some shapes for them to physically cut apart and measure the area of each shape, then add together. This hands on activity helped them to understand the "cutting apart". This help transfer to the shapes in their book that you can't cut. Score!
My students love Scoot, so I created this Area Scoot for them. It's a compilation of all the skills we've covered and learned, a perfect assessment!
To further my students understanding and offer them a creative challenge, I'm using my friend Matt's (Digital: Conquer & Divide) Zoo Design Area & Perimeter. One word: AMAZING! Such a thorough resource with two levels (both look the same, so you're struggling students won't know the difference!). It's such a great culminating project to finish up our unit!
I hope you can use some of the ideas to teach area! I'd love to hear from you, please leave a comment! :)