Sunday, September 12, 2010

Architecture (area and perimeter) project

Here is a student work sample from a recent area / perimeter project that I assigned. It's the second year in a row that I've done this project (last year with regular Geometry, and this year with both regular and honors Geometry), and the kids really enjoy it across all the sections. This girl's math work and her explanations are particularly fabulous, so I decided I'd scan her project in and post it as a sample of the skills I desire in every child. (I am very nit-picky with explanations on projects; they have to give formulas AND show substitutions again AND explain their reasoning for modifying certain geometric formulas, in order to receive full credit.) All groups were assigned different floor plan layouts (I had five pretty different designs), so their answers are all a bit different, but each design has two semi- or quarter-circle curves and a couple of diagonal/triangular sections. It's a good review of what's what with regards to some common geometric formulas. It also teaches them an important skill of looking at a picture and dissecting it into pieces. (ie. How do you know when to add or subtract an area from the total? --NOT obvious to incoming 9th-graders, mind you.)

The project takes about two days of class time. (One day, they do all the perimeter calculations and explanations; can finish up for homework, so that we're all on the same page at the start of Day 2. Next day, they do all the area calculations and finish the explanations for homework.) For me, the hardest part of managing the project is finding enough class time to go through every kid's rough draft (the explanation parts) to nit-pick and give them individual oral feedback before they type up their final drafts at home. I did it this time by assigning a multi-step Pythagorean word problem at the beginning of the day (on Day 3), and also giving the class some time at the end of the day (on Day 3) to work on reading origami instructions and building regular hexagons. During those individual work times, I walked around and quickly conferenced with each kid about their project (while trying to also help other kids with their Pythagorean problems). It made me feel extra ADD/frazzled to be doing two completely different things at the same time, but it worked.

Do you do something similar to this area/perimeter project in your class? What does yours look like?


  1. This project seems interesting. Any chance you have the other 'mansion' sketches to share? I would love to get some ideas for use in my class.

  2. I would like it too! :) I also teach geometry this looks like a good activity.