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Need a Fun Way to Introduce Area?

Kids love this!   Find the area of the desktop in square units…or in this case in square sticky notes!  Give students a sticky note pad and let them stick the notes all over the desk, leaving no spaces and without overlaps.  Then have students count the number of sticky notes that it took to cover the desk.  If there are some sticky notes hanging off, then you will be able to talk about the halves–or in the picture below thirds.  Wow!  A fraction lesson in the midst of an area lesson.  Then students will be able to talk about how the halves fit together to make wholes or that 3 thirds makes a whole.  Have students calculate the number of wholes plus their fractional amounts hanging off to find the total.  This works as a lovely discussion of square units since the pieces that are counted are actually squares.  One sticky note pad (of 100 sheets) will be enough to cover a large desk like the one shown below.  If students have a smaller desk where the books slide in underneath the top, then half of a sticky note pad will be enough to cover one.  If you prefer an alternate activity, try finding the area of a book  with Cheeze-its, or Starburst candy squares–these unit squares don’t work well to discuss fractional pieces though.

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