Area and Perimeter Review Using Legos - Days 1-5

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SWBAT calculate and create areas and perimeters using Lego pieces.

Big Idea

Students calculate area, build areas to a given amount, and calculate the perimeter with the use of Legos.


5 minutes

This area and perimeter review covers five days. Beginning each day the students use their whiteboards to create a short written explanation or diagram that practices area and perimeter skills.

Because it is a review, I want the students to prepare themselves first and work through the problems in their own thinking and understanding.  During this time, I circulate through the room watching for students that may not remember a skill or may be stuck in an explanation.  

These explanations will be used during the last day of the week with presentations. 

Daily Activities

30 minutes

I have my students supply their own Legos for this lesson.  Some of my students bring in their own, I brought in some from my own home, and I also borrow some from the preschool and kindergarten teachers for this lesson.  Gathering resources and keeping them separated and organized will be necessary. 

Day 1 - Find The Area 

The lesson on the first day is to calculate area using the Lego tiles. The students will construct different shapes within a given outline to and find the area. I model for the students using the Legos to fit within the given rectangles. For this lesson students are given outlines of squares and rectangles to find the area.  I begin with basic shapes, and then I begin to combine rectangles and squares together to create more complex shapes.  The area measurements are based on the circles on top of a Lego block.  For example, the area of a Lego shape with two rows and four circles is eight.  Because the students are finding the area, I emphasize that they are not building structures with the Legos during this lesson.  However, the students will build a structure on Day 4.  I state this expectation clearly as part of the management of these lessons.

This video provides examples of some different shapes I want the students to design and calculate on the first day of this lesson sequence. 


Day 2 - Build To A Given Area

On day 2, students are going to be challenged to work with area in an entirely different way - creating area to match given square measurements.  These shapes include squares, rectangles, and combinations of L-shaped polygons. The complex L-shapes and larger rectangles will require students to use the distributive property.   The students have spent a great deal of time on these skills, and reviewing these is important prior to the state testing.  I want the students to focus on the structure of a multiplication sentence and realize that the measurement they are given is the whole amount and they are looking to construct the two parts.  This will also support their skills with division. I review the structure of multiplication sentences with the students before setting them off to work on the different diagrams.  I created diagrams by tracing the outline of the Legos, and also using a large Lego building base. 

Day 3 - Finding the Perimeter

Using the same diagrams from the previous days, the students calculate the perimeter of each of these figures.  I discuss with the students some strategies for finding the perimeter including if they need to fill the figure completely as they did for the area.  I want to see if students can isolate the perimeter, and only use the outline and a few Lego pieces to calculate the area of the different shapes.  

Day 4 - Construct A Box

This lesson is a throw back to the Build A Bird Nest Box lessons.  Today the students create separate rectangles and squares to a given area to create a box.  However, because the Legos build vertically, the students will have to build plane figures and prop them together to create a box shape.  The box will not be able to stand up completely on its own.  However, because the students have brought in their own sets of Legos for these lessons, if they have specialized pieces that will interlock with square angled pieces, the boxes will hold together.  

Day 5 - Presentations

During the final day of the week of lessons, the students make presentations to the class about one of the mini lessons from the week that are chosen by me at random.  I decide to use this format because I know many of the students will want to present a box, and based on the amount of time I need to make sure each concept we practiced is demonstrated and explained.  This also creates some accountability with the students to make sure they were prepared to explain any of the different tasks from the week.