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MsMonkey 02-03-2013 03:40 PM

Formal Observation - Area lesson
First of all, let me say that I am trying to resist the urge to go over the top with my lesson this year because I totally over thought and planned for my lesson last year. Things have been going really well with my math class this year and I'd rather just how things go on a day to day basis in that class. :)

That said, I want to make sure I'm not choosing something that's going to end in total disaster. ;) I've seen a lot of posts here and on Pinterest about using Cheez-Its to teach area. Everything I've seen is very general and I was wondering if anyone who has done this before has any tips, tricks, or suggestions they'd like to offer for how to make the most of the Cheez-It idea.

I was thinking of giving the kids perimeter measurements and having them find the area, or giving them a sheet with a shape drawn on and having them use the Cheez-Its to find the area. I will define area for them beforehand, but will not tell them how to calculate the area. My goal is for them to come up with formulas for calculating the area of squares and triangles on their own. Once we have come up with the formulas, I will call out areas to them and have them create shapes that have that area. They would have to draw and color the shape they came up with on 1 in. grid paper and also show how they used the formula to calculate the area.

Any feedback on this would be appreciated. :) Thank you!!!

lily74 02-03-2013 04:32 PM

I like this idea
...but it seems like a lot to do in one lesson.

When I started area with my class this year, we started by describing it and how it is different to perimeter. Then we practiced finding the area of different shapes. I had the students draw shapes on square paper and had them count the squares to find the area. Then I gave them different shapes , already drawn, to find the area of. You could include the Cheezits idea with this.

Then in the next lesson we started talking about multiplying and how the regular shapes (squares and rectangles) were similar to an array, so we could multiply the lengths of the 2 adjacent sides.

My students had a lot of difficulty with the difference between area and perimeter though. we still need to do more practicing with that.

time4class 02-04-2013 02:10 PM

When I did area I photocopied cm grid paper onto acetate sheets for each student and they used overhead markers. ( They put a white piece of paper under so they could see.) We don't use the projector much because of the SMARTboard so they really liked it. They could see my answers clearly and a student's answer could be show to the whole class. We could even set one page on top of another.

MsMonkey 02-04-2013 03:36 PM

We do flex grouping for math. I have the group of kids who scored highest on our pre-assessment for this unit, so I always plan to be able to take it farther than the knowledge they come in with. Based on their pre-assessment, the majority are coming in with a basic understanding of area.

However, I needed your reminder not to overload the lesson... That is what my nerves do to me whenenver I hear the words "formal observation." ;) Thank you for nudging me back on track! :)

First, I'm going to start off as you suggest, by working on differentiating area and perimeter. We'll do the regular vocab. notes that we start off with. (There's a big push to get our kiddos accostumed to notetaking right now.) After that, I'll add in a little movement for them. My kids love music and dance, so I think I'll get them going by adding a few moves to go with a rap song about area and perimeter that I found on Youtube.

Second, I will give them a sheet I made up with shapes on it to find the area of by counting how many Cheez Its fit inside the square or rectangle. I made a Smart Notebook file so we can check them together too.

Third, I have to have them do some indepedent practice in their math workbooks because our principal ordered them for us (again) this year. So I will have them do the first 5 problems for the lesson.

Fourth, students who finish their workbooks early, will be asked to find a way to determine the area of a square or rectangle that is faster than just counting up the square units. I will give them a picture of a square and a rectangle on grid paper that they will have to find the area of. They will have to write out their explanation using sentences or a formula, show how the math they used, and draw a picture to help explain their method. (We will share these ideas at the start of the next class session, in which we will calculate area using multiplication.)

Finally, at the end of class students will have to answer an area question and write one thing they learned and/or one question they have on a post it not and stick it to our exit ticket poster.

I know the fourth chunk there sounds like a lot, but I have to make sure that I show how I am challenging this group of kids and pushing them to think critically. So, I figure an inquiry activity like that is perfect for the kids who catch on to the area basics quickly.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping me to organize myself a little better! If I still sound off base, I'm always open to constructive criticism and friendly suggestions. :)

beagles2 02-05-2013 03:39 AM

I have the Cheez-Its idea in a Super Fun Math Book I got many years ago. I use it to PRACTICE area, not learn it, so I'm not positive it would help you with actually teaching the concept.

If you are interested in what it specifically says in that book, I would have to bring it home from school and then share it with you. PM me if you want me to.

I have also given students 1 cm grid paper and had them write their spelling words, in the little grids, then draw a box around them and figure out their area and perimeter. But again, this is to practice, not introduce the concept.

lily74 02-05-2013 04:59 PM

beagles 2
I love love love the idea of combining their spelling words with practicing area and perimeter. I am definitely going to use this this week!!!


MsMonkey 02-08-2013 12:57 PM

Thank you!
I just wanted to thank all of you who took the time to give me some feedback. You really helped me chill out and think through my lesson clearly. In the end, it went wonderfully! My principal was so engaged in it himself that he forgot to check off stuff on his list, but had a whole page of notes full of ideas and things he liked about the lesson. :) Positive feedback of that nature is not easy to get out of him, so it really feels good to have gotten some. I so appreciate that you helped me get it together!

Also, I am definitely going to try the area and perimeter of spelling words for word study next week. I think it will be a great way for the kids to review before they take their test next week.

I also saw on pinterest how a teacher had students create their own names on graph paper and then find the area and perimeter of each letter. The names looked cool and I think the kids would have fun with that. Also, my principal mentioned an activity he used to do with his kids. He said he would have them lie down on butcher paper and trace someone's body, then he would tell them to find the area of that silhoutte. The kids would have to figure out how to do that and would eventually (maybe with guiding) end up drawing a grid on the page to figure it out. I thought that sounded pretty cool too.

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