The first activity that you could do with your children is to help them create a new bedroom layout. The materials you will need for this activity are a measuring tape, pencil, lined paper, and graph paper. Help your child to measure the perimeter of their room by measuring the length of each wall and then adding up all of the sides. This will give them the calculation of the perimeter. Then, they can draw the outline on their graph paper, where each square equals one foot. On the outside lines, they should then write the measurement in feet on each wall. Make sure that they include the units as this is something that they will be required to do in school and is easily forgotten. It could also lead into another complete teaching moment on converting inches to feet!
Next, your child will need to compute the area of the room. If their room is either a square or a rectangle it will be easier to compute by just multiplying the length by the width of the room (a=l x w). If their room is an irregular shape, they will need to break the room down into rectangles and squares, compute the area of each and then add them together. The visual aid in the link at the beginning of this article can give assistance as needed. Again, make sure they don’t forget the units, feet2.
To take this project a step further, you could have your child find the area and perimeter of their bedroom furniture or even closet space. They could then make a plan to redecorate their room by moving furniture around based on the results to even to determine if a new piece of furniture they may want could fit into the space. To add technology to the mix, you could actually use an online graphing program like HomeStyler. I have used this with students before and they pick it up quickly and it is intuitive to use.
What other areas around your house could your child measure to get more practice with perimeter and area?
Look to the next post in this series that includes art ideas where your child can practice calculating perimeter and area.
Photo by foilman