Friday, 7 September 2012

A Square Metre Doesn't Have to be Square

No it doesn't. But that's where we started.

So we got out the newspapers and made a square that was 1m x 1m. This sure is one activity we will miss once the print media dies and there are no old newspapers left to cut up for maths investigations.

Problem - We only had 2 rulers that were 1m in length. What were we going to do?

Suggestions -

  1. We could use three 30cm rulers - that might be about a metre
  2. We could use the top of a desk - that might be about a metre
  3. We could use some of those long strips of paper (the old faithful cash register rolls) and measure them to be 1m in length.

I think you can guess which solution we decided to go with.

So we used 1m strips of paper from the cash register as a guide to measure our newspaper squares.

Pretty soon the room was looking like a disaster area - a good indicator that some serious learning was happening.

And then we used our square metre to measure the area of surfaces around the place - rugs, tables, desks, cupboards, doors.

But NONE of them were 1m square.

There was always overhang (or underhang).

Hmm, this table is the wrong shape...

And THEN we realised that the square metre didn't have to be a square! By carefully rearranging parts of our shape, we could have a square metre that looked very different.

It could be a triangle.....

....or even something that looked a bit like Texas!

And so we found that we can measure in units called square metres even if the shape isn't a square!

Now all we have to do is find something the same size and shape as that funny Texas-looking thing and we will know that it is exactly 1 square metre in area.

1 comment:

  1. Great activity, and creative use of materials! Strikes me as a memorable activity.


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