Geometrical calculations are incomplete without the mention of area and perimeter. These are the basic parameters of any geometrical figure which kids ought to learn. But, if you think that compelling kids to mug up their formulae can make them a measurement specialist you are quite mistaken! Changing patterns of delivering education give more focus on strategy learning than rote memorizing. That is why, it is important to fit in the activities in the curriculum so that children can understand the practical aspect of every concept, including area and perimeter.
Area and Perimeter – Why students need to learn these?
Geometry starts with the introduction of the concept of a line. Then follows the learning of measurements like length, width, and height. A gradual progression in studies takes the students further to performing operations on these measurements. Perimeter and area are the first basic operations that a child gets to perform using length and width.
Role of activities in teaching area and perimeter
Quite naturally, the student is likely to get scared by the bombardment of so many terms, formulae, and working methods. Activities help take away this math anxiety and help the young learners acquire ease with the concepts by showing them a more tangible view of an area or perimeter.
Let’s move straight to some of the most engaging area and perimeter activities that young learners can perform to acquire practical knowledge of these calculations. After that, we will explore a little bit the essential outcomes the activities contribute to making a child fluent with geometrical calculations.
Activities for Learning Area and Perimeter
1. Create Anchor Charts
Anchor charts are the charts under process. Students solve the problems with initial discussion and then write the answers on these charts. Teachers can draw the quadrilateral and other polygons, and mention the formula to find the area and perimeter. Refer to the video below for better understanding.
Kids solve the problem based on the measurements provided in the figure and write the answer in subsequent place. This simple activity brings all the things required for the learning area and perimeter in one place. Since the chart is going to be in front of their eyes all the time, it helps in providing easy reference and subsequent reinforcement of learning.
2. Play with Geoboard
Geoboard offers a perfect activity tool for doing area and perimeter teaching. It is manipulative with pegs inserted on it at a pre-defined distance, usually, a single unit of distance apart. The students are given a thread. They place the thread that moves over the pegs to create a figure. A hint for creating a figure is provided in the form of measurements.
For example, the teacher may show the students how to make a square with 2cm long sides. Now, they share the idea of the perimeter by calculating the total sum of all sides. The same idea can be replicated using other geometrical figures. Learn from the video below to understand better about finding areas using geoboard.
3. Make a scrapbook of Geometrical figures
It is a project work idea, but a very interesting thing to do. The students can be asked to make a scrapbook where each figure is at the top of the page. They highlight the contours of the figure to show the idea of the perimeter. Further, the inner part of the figure is colored to demonstrate the ‘area’.
Below the figure, they can create a small table comprising of columns – the name of the figure, formula for area, and formula for the perimeter. A more interesting twist is given by guiding the student to use a pencil and scale or a thread to collect measurements first and then apply the formula. Thus, the concept recall becomes easier to achieve with practicing and enriching this scrapbook further with different figure types.
4. Paper-cutting activity
Ask children to cut the paper in desired length and breadth measurements. For example, guide students to cut the paper so as to create a rectangle of 3cm length and 5 cm breadth (a hypothetical example). Now, tell them about the perimeter that it is the total of all sides.
Kids can add all sides’ measurements to arrive at the answer. Similarly, you can ask them to draw in the inner area a 3×5 matrix and ask them to count all cells formed. This activity tells them how to use addition to find the area of basic figures like squares and rectangles. Also, it can reinforce in their mind the difference between perimeter and area more clearly.
5. Draw figures on a graph paper
A graph paper is a paper divided into clearly distinguishable cells. You can pick the graph paper that has cells measuring 1cmx1cm (it can be found out by measuring cells with a scale). Now, ask them to draw a composite figure like a house made of rectangles.
You can ask them to measure the side of each rectangle formed and further add those. It can help them know how to calculate the perimeter of figures with different measurements. Again counting of cells enclosed by the figure helps them know the area. With gradual practice, you can incline the students towards understanding how the formula of area or perimeter is derived using this simple activity.
6. Roll it Double!
It is a dice game actually. The students can use two dice. And they also keep a graph paper with them. Now, they roll the two dices together. One dice’s number is chosen as length and the other as breadth. They draw rectangles/squares as per the numbers they get on rolling. And, keep writing the area and perimeter of the resultant figure. They can demarcate their respective figures by coloring them in their chosen color. Finally, all students add their respective areas. Thus, using the play method, they are given a firsthand introduction to the perimeter and area.
How area and perimeter focused activities can boost your mathematical capabilities?
Activities mean doing something practically instead of merely solving the problems using formulae. These give a more practical take on the concepts taught in a classroom coaching environment. Some of the most beneficial outcomes of performing activities to internalize area and perimeter concept are:
- Activities familiarize students with the strategic part of solving area and perimeter problems
- These create a collaborative atmosphere for exchange and growth of knowledge. All students participating in it give way to dialogue, discussion, and consequently, a better understanding of the concept through mutual exchange of knowledge
- These allow the learners to visualize the concepts in more practical settings; thus, they appreciate the practical relevance of the concept better
- Since they are doing-to-learn, students gain more confidence and feel that they have acquired knowledge by the implementation of their own efforts. It helps immensely in overcoming math-related worries.
 Study ‘Teaching and Learning Area and Perimeter of Polygons Without Use of Formulae’, by J.R.A. Mickens, California State University, San Bernandino
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