|I did NOT design these...|
I recently started a unit I traditionally begin in the spring. The reason is because students are required to do some pretty intense area problems on the FCAT 2.0 practice test (which leads to doing some intense problems on the FCAT, I bet). Last year, students began measuring irregular figures and figuring out their areas. It is a skill that at times takes months to grasp. I wanted a head start... five months early... so this skill will come naturally for them when the FCAT is administered. Hopefully, any apprehension will be relieved.
First, there are four websites I highly recommend. I have not used any of them yet, but some will become partner laptop lessons while others will be whole-group demonstrations with me using the projector. I believe "Math 5 Live" and "Area and Perimeter Differentiation" will work best for the whole-group demonstrations while the last two will work best for partners. I plan on using a few of these the first day when students come back from Thanksgiving break, and then the rest throughout that week.
- Math 5 Live: Area and Perimeter of Irregular Shapes: Finding area and perimeter when building a putting green.
- Area and Perimeter Differentiation (EXCELLENT TUTORIAL; gets challenging to the L- and irregular-shaped figures in Level 3 of Area)
- Area and Perimeter Interactive Measuring Lesson
- Baseball Geometry Area Game
- VIDEO from The Futures Channel: The Set Director: Area relates to set design. In this video that runs a little less than three minutes, students find out how.
- VIDEO: Landscape Architects
- Students also use larger sheets of graphic paper to design their dream homes. We use 11" x 17" graph paper from Bienfang to complete this activity. Students have to find the area of each room. I did this activity two years ago, and it worked well. The idea was inspired by student architectural plans Stacey Burt (former grades 6-8 Scholastic Teacher Advisor and current Top Teaching blogger) brought to the Scholastic headquarters when we met in May 2009.
- Last year, we also planned out parks, which turned out to be excellent. We did this activity on regular-sized graph paper. We may complete this activity closer to the state tests (and complete the dream home plans now).
- Here are some sample math problems I may have my students solve in the coming weeks.
- On the floor last year, I taped down L-shaped figures, which small groups found the area of by measuring with a centimeter ruler. I may try something similar again.
- Of course, this will lead to volume, where we will use pop cubes to find the length, width, and height of figures we will construct. I have heard that video game console boxes can be acquired somehow, which can be incredibly fun for studying volume. Students can then visit an interactive volume website like this one.
- Students will also learn how to find surface area, which will be simple after learning about different kinds of area. I will explain how boxes that products come in must be large enough to hold that product (and not be either too snug or too large, as that can damage the product either way). What is the right-size box to hold a cheeseburger? What is the right-size box to hold a video game console and its components?
p.s. Off-topic, way off-topic, but... this will be offered for my students in the near future as well...
Tetris Link, needless to say, looks FUN. It will come out when my students study rotations in January. It sort of reviews area as well (in a roundabout way). Whenever I see a good strategy game, I let myself get quite excited. I am most certainly a 10-year old at heart sometimes...