Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Graph My Room (Area and Perimeter)

What is it about the measuring tape? My sons both think it’s the best toy ever, never mind that it’s not a toy at all. To capitalize on this fascination, I thought I’d have my son put the measuring tape to good use measuring his room.

I made some large-scale graph paper, printed two sheets, and gave my son the measuring tape.  I explained how 12 inches equals 1 foot. Then I showed him how the feet were marked on the measuring tape.

Step 1: Measure.
Now he measured the length and width of his room, from wall to wall.  We rounded up or down to the nearest foot.

Step 2: Cut the graph paper to represent the room.
I explained that one square on the graph paper was equal to one foot. Then, he counted the number of squares horizontally and vertically on the large graph paper and cut it to represent the space in his room.

Step 3: Measure the furniture. Cut the paper to size. Color it in.
Next, he measured his bed, bedside table, bookshelf, and LEGO table. Each time, cutting the representative sizes from the graph paper. He colored these.

Step 4: Measure and locate the furniture on the room graph.
Now, we measured the distance from the walls to each object. This provided the information my son needed to determine exactly where to locate the various items on the graph paper representation of his bedroom.

Step 5: Figure the perimeter and area of each object and the room.
Before I had my son figure the perimeter and area of his room, I gave him a little background in what the two terms meant.
Since learning by listening isn’t my son’s thing, I found a great online game to help him practice figuring perimeter and area.

When I pulled him away from the game, he did the calculations for his room and its furniture. To figure the area of his entire room, I gave him a calculator (his early multiplication skills are not advanced enough to arrive at an answer without help).

This took a lot of patience, measuring, and math. My son was up for the challenge, though, and even spent time tracing over the calculations he’d made in pencil with pen so he’d have a permanent record in his notebook!


  1. You have the BEST ideas!! I love your blog and I love that you work so much with your son!

  2. My daughter (also a first grader) and I have been wanting to do something just like this -- we even took a walk to the hardware store yesterday to get a tape measure. I'm glad to have found this post today -- it's a great model for our own project!

  3. What great ideas! Just visited your blog for the first time today. I look forward to trying some of the things that you have posted.

  4. This is an awesome idea! Little J just finished this unit in school and really enjoyed it. I'll have to see if he would like to continue at home with this idea. Thanks for sharing at AfterSchool!

  5. Wow! This idea is amazing! You are so good at making learning fun and "real world."

  6. I love this idea! I will have to do this with my children soon.

  7. It's a fun idea to tie area and perimeter to "real life". Thanks for sharing with Afterschool!