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.


About Gretchen Simmerson

Middle School math teacher living in Austin, Texas.
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