Nailed It!

2 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


Students will be able to apply measuring and perimeter knowledge to solve a real life problem of building a bat house using only 28 nails.

Big Idea

Students deserve and need opportunities to use their knowledge applied to a real life situation that means something to them. This unit, and this lesson, requires students to apply many of this school year's skills.


15 minutes

Today's lesson is a continuation of our lesson "Where Do These Nails Go?".  Yesterday, in order to determine the correct placement of the 28 nails for the bat house construction, students measured for board placement.  Some also began to consider how many nails each board would require for construction. If you look back at the previous lesson, you will see this is a rigorous activity.  Even if you aren't building bat houses, you could give your students a real task in which they will need to use perimeter and division to figure out placements.  For example, you might consider stating a situation on the playground where a certain number of students must stand in a square and be evenly distributed to better catch a ball or keep it in play. 

The idea here is to work with students in recognizing the importance of equal distribution and using division in the right context to find placement. 

Today, I remind them of the task and I ask the students to share their reasons for using equal interval placement of nails and how they might begin to mark the nail placement. 

Then, it's off to work!

Active Engagement

30 minutes

As students begin working, I roam the room watching for places to "prompt and guide".  These boys have placed their boards together using their measurements to guide them.  They are not "eyeballing" where their nails should go and discussing what to do.  When I ask my question, one of the group members replies, "Measure it!", which the group immediately does. 

I was impressed with this group of girls.  They measured the full length of the side and divided, as close to equal intervals, as they could.  They then chose a yard stick as their tool so they had sufficient length to mark every 7 and 1/4 inch. 

This group realized that they only had 12 nails left over and 3 interior boards to place.  So, this young man used his division model strategy to determine how many nails could be given to each board, and then how many could be used on each side. 

When I circle back to this group, they are figuring out their nail placement for the opposite side of the bat house.  I thought their strategy was brilliant and efficient.  They place their completed board next to the new board, and begin measuring in from the sides.  Now, not only will each side have equal intervals, but their nails will be in the same location on all sides of the bat house!

Closing & Review

10 minutes

As a closing today, I will ask all the groups that had their nail holes complete, to be roaming experts and help the other groups finish.  We are building our bat houses tomorrow and everything has to be prepared!

Students love to become experts and help.  In this role, they teach each other strategies they use in their own work, but also must listen to different strategies already in play and adapt their thinking to help in that thought process. 

This is an excellent review and share strategy.