Fun With Area and Perimeter

In our FL state standards, area is not taught until 4th grade. I've not been happy about separating perimeter and area, so I'm very happy that in CCSS I'll be teaching them together in third grade. We have one more year of our current state test, so no area on it next year. However, we have new math textbooks for next year -- Common Core books -- and the 4th grade texts will assume students learned area in 3rd!

I've already been including area in my "getting ready for 4th" lessons at the end of the year, but this year I wanted to spend more time having students practice both perimeter and area. We are done soon, so I am working hard to keep the kids engaged! Here's what I came up with to have a little fun with measurement.

This is my "dream house." It's on a big post-it page that has grid lines. All my rooms are squares and rectangles. I hung it on the board on Thursday and showed the kids all my rooms (and a bit about why I chose to include them). I then gave them a grid paper and assigned homework -- they were to design their own dream house, using squares and rectangles. I told them to use their imagination -- they can build a house with exactly what they want for rooms!

I had them share their houses; some were hilarious! I've been teasing them about not having kitchens; some of them went back and added a restaurant in their house. There were "mancaves" and "kidcaves" and lots of game rooms

Then I teamed them up and had them combine their houses, listing the must - have rooms. They got a piece of the big grid paper and designed a new house. Pencil first, with post-it notes, and then they used markers.

The culmination of all this work was my hanging up all the houses and assigning the teams to one of them (not their own). They had to find the perimeter and area of each room.

They had so much fun working on this. When they finished I brought each house to the front and they shared their measurements for a couple rooms. My only regret is that I did this so late that we had too many interruptions with special events and I couldn't let them spend more time sharing their work. Next year I'll definitely do this a little bit earlier.


  1. Looks like a lot of fun! One of my posts was about measuring the rooms in your own house. I'm a floorplan lover!
    Kids Math Teacher

  2. When we make those real world connections it really gets the kids engaged, I believe. While we were working on these our head custodian happened to come to my room, so I asked him if he uses perimeter and area in his job and he took time to tell the kids one way -- it was surprising to them!

    Math is Elementary

  3. This is so cool. I will be teaching 6th next year ALL subjects and have never taught math so I'm trying to find all the resources I possibly can this summer. Of course, I've got to relearn everything 1st before I can teach it! Ha! :)


  4. Great project idea! My kiddos struggled with area and perimeter SO much this year. I couldn't believe it. I kept asking myself, "What did I not do this year, that I have done every other year?!?" What a fun way to review. I'm putting this one in the books for next year.

    The Teaching Thief


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