Day 106 – 107 – Deck Design Dilemma

deckOn Wednesday, I started the class with this:

I want to build a deck that will come out over my back yard.  I want a cool design, but also one that takes up the least amount of area.  The trouble is I don’t know how to find the area of these irregular shapes.

Students were seated in groups to figure out this problem.  I handed each student this prompt, along with 2 deck designs, both of which were irregular shapes.

20140220_080109I didn’t give much information other than that. As I walked around the room, I heard lots of great ideas.  Many figured out that they could break the shapes into smaller shapes, such as a rectangle, triangle, trapezoid.  Other groups thought to “enclose” the whole shape, as in make it a full rectangle, and then subtract the portion not needed.  I was glad to see the different methods of going about finding the area.  After about 10 minutes of investigation, several groups shared their ideas with the class.

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About Gretchen Simmerson

Middle School math teacher living in Austin, Texas.
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