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Do Your Students Mix Up Area and Perimeter? Try This…

Seeing the same problem, students continuing to mix up area and perimeter questions, reoccur with our 4th and 5th grade students on their unit tests, we decided to try something new to help them differentiate between the two.  With the questions already cut out, we took all of the released area and perimeter questions from our previous state tests and had students do a sort with them.  Pairs of students sorted the questions underneath an area or perimeter heading.  To add a little challenge to the activity, we added some volume, capacity, weight, multiplication, and division questions without telling them that these questions weren’t area or perimeter.  As teachers, we learned during the students’ sort that students were thinking of area as the space inside of anything so that they were confusing volume and capacity with area.  This led to students gaining a deeper understanding of the meaning of area.  The students also learned from one another as Bloom’s higher order thinking on the evaluation level was in place.  Students had to discuss each question and agree or disagree with one another about the decision to place it underneath a heading.   See below for a look at our activity.

Area Perimeter Card Sort

 

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