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Making Measurement Meaningful and #ObserveMe

 I started the topic of "Measurement" with my Stage 2 Community Connections class today. 

Last night I was pondering on how to teach my students about area and perimeter without boring them (and myself) to tears. I decided to follow this procedure:

First step: Google your street address and locate your property on Google Maps. Mine looked like this:

Second Step: Right click and select "Measure distance" and trace around your property.

We noticed that Google gave us the total distance (perimeter) and area. My question for the students was, how did Google figure this out? Or in Stage 2 Community Connections language:

"What are the dimensions of the block of land?" 


"What operation will we use to find a) the perimeter and b) the area?"

I don't know about you but I find that many students (particularly at the lower ability levels) get confused about the difference between perimeter and area. They struggle to recognise that perimeter requires addition, and area requires multiplication, and WHY!

We repeated the idea that the total distance Google calculated is what we call perimeter. This is the total or sum, i.e., add the lengths of the sides. We talked about how the numbers Google displayed around the edge of the property are not the side lengths, but rather a cumulative measurement of the distance  from the origin. We decided on a scale by figuring out what distance was between each marking. We then worked out how long each side was. 

We then talked about area in terms of laying lawn all over the property. We considered a roll of lawn whose length was the width of the property, and whose width was 1m. If we multiply how many rolls we would need by the length of the roll, we will get the area. We could do this becuase I asked a student to project their work on the IWB and his block was a rectangular shape.

We made notes on the board throughout this process. I left these notes displayed on the board while the students completed a couple of questions from their assessment directly related to finding perimeter and area of a quadrilateral shape.

I thought playing around with a familiar, relevant piece of land might help them to connect with these concepts. A few students really seemed to engage in the process and I could see the light bulbs turning on. A few still seemed to struggle and I would like to revisit this again next lesson. I will let you know how it goes.

Why not try this with your class and let me know how it worked for you!

Oh I nearly forgot! If you haven't gotten on the #ObserveMe bandwagon then get on it! I stuck up my first #ObserveMe poster on the door of my classroom today - it looked like this:

I haven't had anyone observe me yet but I think that's because I didn't do any advertising! I will get onto my marketing department tomorrow and see what I can achieve.

Peace out Math Bros.


  1. Also, I know I say this in person a lot, but you are amazing and I love working and being friends with you. She’s really that good people.

  2. Thanks Kathy. I am glad to have you back in the office because you are one of my favourite people and a truly gifted teacher. I look forward to us guest presenting on each others blogs/channels! Maybe a cross-over episode??

    1. It’s making me want to do something new too. I’m not sure what yet but I’m thinking on it. Broiling in it, so to speak.


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