Measuring All Around, Inside and Out: A Unit about Perimeter and Area

byValerie Schwarz

This curriculum unit connects geometry and measurement. Quadrilaterals, area, and perimeter are explored through hands on activities designed to teach a conceptual understanding of mathematics. Teaching methods will include tasks, hands-on activities, and cooperative groups. Students will explore the meaning of area and perimeter in squares and rectangles by covering surfaces with square units and tracing the outline using linear units, respectively. Once the students understand the meaning of measures and the corresponding units, they will explore if there is a relationship between area and perimeter through carefully designed problems. Once the basic relationships are mastered, students will work on more challenging area and perimeter problems. After they are quite familiar with rectangles and their properties, students will explore the properties of other families of quadrilaterals and the interrelationships between them.  The unit will examine pairs of parallel sides, right angles, opposite sides with the same length, and the diagonals and symmetries (reflections across a line, or across several lines, and rotations), using hands-on tools. Finally students will understand how to calculate the area and perimeter of different classes of quadrilaterals including parallelograms, trapezoids, and rhombi. The goal is to tie in geometry and measurement together in a way that fosters deeper knowledge that will lead to more success in middle school and beyond. This unit is written for fourth grade, but could easily challenge students in grade five through seven.

(Developed for Mathematics, grade 4; recommended for Mathematics, grades 3-6)

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