Little Room Under the Stairs: Educational Math Activities and More: Workin' On It Wednesday: Teaching Area

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Workin' On It Wednesday: Teaching Area

Teaching Area, Area of Complex Figures, Free Area Activities

It's Wednesday and time to link up with Ellie at Middle School Math Moments for Workin' On It Wednesday. 

This week we are finishing up our Area Unit (as long as the weather holds out). We have worked on perimeter, area of rectangles/parallelograms/triangles/trapezoids/circles, and circumference. We spent a couple of Fridays playing perimeter/area jeopardy. The kids worked hard and enjoyed it. Here's a link to the one we played: Perimeter and Area Jeopardy.

Teaching Area, Area of Complex Figures, Free Area Activities

The last task was to find the area of complex shapes. I decided we would do a project for the kids to practice the concept. With all of the weather delays and closings, this was started and then put on the back burner. Well, I moved it to the front burner this week. 

Using Google Map and the projector, I showed the kids some of the tops of our buildings in town. We outlined the buildings on the whiteboard and broke them into shapes. Then, I gave the kids some graph paper and had them draw the outline of some random shape with these rules. 

☞ Rule 1 - You are just drawing an outline. (This was difficult to get across to students.) 
☞ Rule 2 - Your shape cannot be just a basic shape. 
☞ Rule 3 - Use the grid lines. Diagonals are fine. This took some effort. They wanted to give the inside a lot of details, but we finally got an outline for everyone!

This week we talked again about breaking them into basic shapes, finding the area for each shape, and then finding a total area. We practiced one of my crazy shapes on the board, and the kids did pretty well. Today, I had them break their own shapes down. This proved to be a little harder, but we managed. We are now finding areas of shapes and total areas.

Here are a couple of samples.
Teaching Area, Area of Complex Figures, Free Area Activities

Teaching Area, Area of Complex Figures, Free Area Activities

I've included a download for the project directions and a second area project involving toilet paper!

Teaching Area, Area of Complex Figures, Free Area Activities

Teaching Area, Area of Complex Figures, Free Area Activities

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