Reflection: Complex Tasks Area & Perimeter Cubes - Section 3: Exploration


Although on the surface this task may not appear terribly complex my students were actually grappling with big ideas and making connections to related content. By visualizing and physically manipulating the blocks along the perimeter of their desks they are internalizing the meaning of perimeter.

They also made a connection I wasn't expecting, but in retrospect it makes sense. When my students were forced to use alternative measuring tools in conjunction with the blocks my students engaged in relational  thinking. By relating the number of blocks to the length of whatever additional tool (notebook, pencil, bag, etc.) they chose and then relating that the length of the desk they are using  ratios. For example:

If it takes 25 blocks to make the length of the pencil and four pencils to make the length of the desk, then it takes 4x25 blocks to make the length of the desk.

Looking back I think I would pursue this a little further by asking them how they would represent this idea mathematically and make the connection to ratios more evident and explicit to them and engage them in standard 7.RP.A.2c representing proportional relationships using equations.

  Complex Tasks: Making Mathematical Connections
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Area & Perimeter Cubes

Unit 10: Exploring Area & Perimeter
Lesson 8 of 16

Objective: Students will be able to figure out the perimeter and area of their desks using unconventional units.

Big Idea: The relationship between linear and square units underscores the meanings of area and perimeter.

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using variety of unconventional units for perimeter
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