I love teaching measurement – especially area and perimeter – to my students. It lends itself to fun perimeter and area activities where students get hands-on practice and lots of opportunities to move around and work cooperatively.
However, I find that many of my students struggle to differentiate the area of a shape from the perimeter so planning enough perimeter and area activities that give students a chance to solidify these concepts is incredibly important. I also like to share several strategies that help my students differentiate between the two, and today I am going to share a few of these perimeter and area tricks with you.
|Image Credit: fotosviajeras | Dollar Photo Club|
The strategies below are designed for teaching perimeter and area computations and definitions to your students using a multi-sensory approach.
Teaching Perimeter and Area Strategy #1: Visualize it
As we work through the lesson, we record the word perimeter in our journals. However, we capitalize and bold the RIM to remind them the peRIMeter is the measurement of the outside “rim” of the shape. They also draw a rectangle in their journals, and write the word perimeter going all the way around the outside…over and over again for my friends with small penmanship. We also write AREA in our journals, and I let them color in the inside of the As and R to remind them the area is the inside. Then they go back to that rectangle they drew and write AREA as big as they can fit on the inside.
Teaching Perimeter and Area Strategy #2: Compute differently
Many of my kids realize that if all the sides are the same length they can multiply the length by the number of sides to get the perimeter. However, for my struggling learners, I encourage them to always add with perimeter and always multiply with area until they get the hang them. This really helps them distinguish the two because they are using different operations to solve.
Teaching Perimeter and AreaStrategy #3: Color-code them
Finally, if they are given a visual, I have them outline shapes they are finding the perimeter for and color in shapes when they are asked for the area. We use colored pencils to make it easy to see our work (and prevent the mess of markers).
Practice Makes Perfect
I also work hard to give my students TONS of activities and opportunities to practice both skills together and separately because the research supports that increased opportunities means increased learning (as long as I give meaningful feedback). Here are a few of the resources that have helped me teach area and perimeter to my students:
This set has students sort cards into groups of four so students can practice matching the visual of the labeled shape diagram with the measurements for area and perimeter. There are a total of 8 sets to create…or to differentiate for your struggling students, just give them 4 sets (16 cards) rather than the 8 (32 cards). I am also planning to use this in
There are a total of 8 sets to create…or to differentiate for your struggling students, just give them 4 sets (16 cards) rather than the 8 (32 cards). I am also planning to use this in
I am also planning to use this in small group. My kiddos still struggling with the topic will review one set with me as a mini-lesson, and I will give them the next set to do in partners to assess their growth.
Just be sure to cut the cards in advance and keep a copy of the sheets for an answer key!
Depending on my group of students I either use these as a whole class review/formative assessment or as a station, while I am meeting with small groups of students who are struggling.
The set contains both customary (standard) and metric unit measurements for 48 total task cards. Plus I built in some word problems to give my students a chance to see the type of story problem they may see on standardized state assessments.
What tips or tricks do you have for teaching students to distinguish area from perimeter? Leave them in the comments below.
I hope this article gave you some ideas for perimeter and area activities and strategies. If you’d like more ideas from The Third Wheel, be sure to follow me on Teachers Pay Teachers, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram to keep up to date and on the latest tips, tools, and freebies for your classroom.