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Handyman 101: The Use of Area and Perimeter in the Real World

Grade: 6th

 Subject: Math

 Estimated Time: 7 days for 75 minutes per class

 Lesson Overview:

During this lesson students will work collaboratively to critical analyze and use their knowledge of area and perimeter to make home improvements to their new home. Students will evaluate to find the area and perimeter, research prices from their favorite home improvement store, multiply decimals in the form of money, and then report their findings in a visual format of their choice. Students will use critical thinking as they evaluate each source and decide on best possible prices for each project.



Websites (Samples):

Home Depot



Computer programs (Samples):




Equipment (Samples):

Flip cam


Class notes (Appendix A)

            Computers with Internet access

            ConVa/ Computer with projector

            Chalkboard/Chalk or Whiteboard/Markers

 Theory to Practice:

When we were in school teachers asked up to complete worksheets and memorize facts, however, there is no meaningful real-life connection to those tasks. Students today have information at the touch of a button. They can look up any question and find the answer within seconds. So how do we allow them to utilize their skills while still learning the standards necessary? Technology integration, that’s how.

In this lesson students will be utilizing the idea of a semantic Web to discover new knowledge using the Internet. A semantic Web is the model for learning “to know.” According to Stephen Wilmarth in Curriculum 21, “Each bit of content itself will share information and stretch our capacity to make meaning out of the mountains of data that otherwise cause us to experience information overload” (Jacobs, 2010, p. 89). In this activity students are working towards knowing how to perform the skills required in the standards (computing perimeter and area), while connecting it to a real-world use. Students are using the technology they are familiar with in addition to technology they are newly experiencing to perform meaningful tasks that demonstrate understanding.

 Hayes, H. J. (2010). Curriculum 21. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.




6.2.3: Multiply and divide decimals

6.2.8: Calculate given percentages of quantities and solve problems involving discounts of sales, interest earned, and tips

Algebra and Functions:

6.3.2: Write and use formulas up to three variables to solve problems

6.3.5: Use variables in expressions describing geometric quantities


6.5.10: Add, subtract, multiply, and divide with money in decimal notation

Problem Solving:

6.7.5 Express solutions clearly and logically by using the appropriate mathematical terms and notation. Support solutions with evidence in both verbal and symbolic work.



            Creativity and Innovation:

            b. create original works as a means of personal or group expression.


Communication and Collaboration:

            d. contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems.

            Research and Information Fluency:

            c. evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the

appropriateness to specific tasks


            Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making:

            b. plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.

c. collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.


Digital Citizenship:

a. advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology.

b. exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity.


Technology Operations and Concepts:

a. understand and use technology systems.

b. select and use applications effectively and productively.


Instructional Plan:

o   Students will solve problems pertaining to area and perimeter.

o   Students will use critical thinking strategies to choose a store of inquiry to analyze prices, compare costs, and recommend materials.

o   Students will design a visual display demonstrating their understanding of area and perimeter.

o   Students will relate the ideas of area and perimeter to real life situations.

o   Students will work collaboratively in groups to plan the project tasks and formulate their solution.


Lesson Plan:

Day 1: Before beginning the note taking process, write the words area and perimeter on the board. Give students 3-5 minutes to write these words on an index card, write their own definition, and draw a picture. Students should be able to get close to a definition, as area and perimeter were first introduced in 4th grade. The 6th grade standards expand on this knowledge. Once every student has had the opportunity to write a definition and draw a picture ask for volunteers to share their definition. When students respond incorrectly, ask them to get their pencil ready to change their definition. When a student responds correctly write that definition on the board. Correct answers could be: Perimeter (distance around a shape) and Area (amount inside a shape). Ask others to add to the definition or restate the definition in other ways. Do this for both area and perimeter.

            Have the students take out their math notebook. One of the skills the middle school asks us to teach is note taking. Students have a notebook for each subject to which they take modified Cornell notes, a proven note taking strategy that can be used from elementary through college. These notes have a title at the top and a line drawn vertically down the paper. The left side is the place for students to write main ideas, questions, or problems, while the right side is where the students answer the question, describe the main idea, or solve the problem. When they study with these notes they are able to fold the paper in half and study individually. In middle school they will also write a summary of their learning for each lesson at the bottom of the day’s notes.

            Students will first write the heading on the top of their paper: Area and Perimeter. They will then write the words perimeter and area on the left side. On the right they will write their definition and draw a picture. Once this has been completed take the students outside for 5 minutes and have them identify where they would use area and perimeter. When students return to the classroom write their findings next to the appropriate term.

            Using the ideas stated by the students, write a story problem that pertains to area or perimeter. For example, if a student said the wood boundary around the swing set is a perimeter and the mulch is area, your real life story problem could be: Your principal has decided to redo the perimeter of the swing set, if the perimeter is a rectangle with sides 10.5 feet and 12.7 feet, how much wood would he need to cover it? If each piece of wood is 5 feet long, how many pieces would he need to build a new perimeter to the swing area? Home Depot is having a sale on wood borders. He can buy 5 feet for $2 a piece of 4 feet for $1.50. Which is the better buy? How much will it cost him to redo the border?

            After walking the students through this problem, challenge them to work in partners to write a similar problem involving the mulch. Once they have finished their problem have them exchange problems with another group and solve. When everyone has had a chance to write a problem and share it with another group, bring them back together to discuss the process they needed to use in the problem they answered.

How do area and perimeter impact the real-world? Once everyone has had time to think, perform a think-pair-share. Students will individually think of their answer, then share it with a partner, and then finally share it as a group. Each group will share their thoughts with the entire class.


Day 2: Students will be given a copy of the project and blueprint (Appendix B). Read through the project with the students asking if they have any questions. Have students turn over their papers to view the predicted timeline (Appendix C). Students will be expected to complete the entire project in 5 days and present their findings on the 6th. Today the students are to take a few minutes to reread the problem on their own in order to decide which skill(s) is necessary for each part. Students will then need to examine the blueprint carefully. By the end of the class period students should have decided on the process and identified the area and perimeter needed for this problem.

Advise the students to select their groups of 3-4 students carefully, as group work is a component of their final grade. Select people they work well with and who are going to help in the project. Once this has been established students may begin their work.


Day 3: Begin the class by pointing out groups that worked well the prior day. Explain what made their group successful. Challenge the groups to embrace those qualities in their groups today. This will be personally designed for your class, as you will point out what you see as appropriate collaborative learning and group work.

According to the schedule, today the students need to determine a home improvement store of their choice to help them find the appropriate materials necessary and determine the cost for each project. Before releasing students to complete the project, use the ConVa (computer connected to a projector) to walk students through how to find the store they are looking for on the Internet. Oftentimes students want to type in www.storename.com. This may work sometimes, but will not work all the time. It is important for the students to understand it is safer to go to a search engine of their choice and type in the store name. Once websites have been found, evaluate them to find the one that is the actual store webpage. This is a great time to teach students about Internet safety and being a good consumer of information.

Once the lesson has been completed allow students to work with their groups for the remainder of the class.


Day 4/5/6: Review with students the appropriate ways to use the Internet along with skills necessary to work in a group. For the next 3 days the students are asked to complete their visual representation of their findings. Encourage the students to think outside the box. They may create a project of their choice as long as it in their display they have explained the materials selected, included the price per square foot/yard for each material, configured the dimensions needed from the blueprint, and determined the price per project for this home while demonstrating an understanding of the math skills necessary. The students will work on their visual representation for the remaining 3 class periods.


Day 7: Discuss with the students what you saw as positive skills they possessed while working in groups and being good consumers of information. It is important to continuously identify these skills for the students as they are just learning to work collaboratively and be good consumers of information.

            Spend the remaining time allowing the groups to share their findings with the class. When their presentation is done, have each group share how they created their visual representation and why they selected that way to share their information.


Extensions and Accommodations:

Extensions: Students must take into account sales tax when computing prices. Also, students must remember that padding must be purchased along with carpeting, in addition to painting supplies, and tools to configure the fence.  


Accommodations: The accommodations necessary for students with special needs would be a copy of the notes and the use of a calculator. All other accommodations are built into this lesson through the use of universal design for learning. There is a lot of choice in this project which allows for students to demonstrate their understanding in an accommodated way. For example, a student with a severe disability could record their part of the presentation instead of speaking in front of the class. A student with a visual impairment may choose to use a computer program to display their group’s findings instead of recording with the flip cam.


Assessment: (Appendix D)

The rubric designed follows the lesson objectives and project explanation. Students will be graded on their ability to solve problems pertaining to area and perimeter, use the knowledge they’ve gained to recommend materials, design a visual display demonstrating their understanding of area and perimeter by relating the ideas of area and perimeter to real life situations, and their ability to work collaboratively in groups to plan the project tasks and formulate their solution.


Student Example:

                        Appendix E