Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dream House: An Additive Area Project (3rd Grade Common Core)

The 3rd grade Common Core standards are pushing us to reach a deeper understanding of many topics. For example, area is covered in much more depth than our previous state standards specified. I've always done a "Dream House" project to help students learn area concepts, and this year I've adapted it to address the following standard: 

CCSS.Math.Content.3.MD.C.7d Recognize area as additive. Find areas of rectilinear figures by decomposing them into non-overlapping rectangles and adding the areas of the non-overlapping parts, applying this technique to solve real world problems.

I started this project today and the students are o-b-s-e-s-s-e-d. It was so funny to watch as an idea for a room caught on throughout the class - by the end of class 22/29 of their dream houses included a "Trampoline Room". Haha. Kids are awesome. 

I'll show you the directions here, along with a picture of each step. At the bottom of the post you can find a link to download the project free at my Teachers Pay Teachers store. 

1.  Outline your dream house by drawing the outside walls. your dream house should be a compound figure with all right angles. 

 2.  Partition your dream house into rooms. Each room must be a rectangle. As an extension, try making copies of your own outline and see how many different ways students can come up with to partition the same compound figure into rectangles!

3.  Label and color each room. But, Ms. Turner, where do you sleep? Why, on a raft in the indoor pool, dahling! 

4.  Find and record the area of each room. My students used a full page of lined paper to do this, and then recorded their final answers in the space provided on the project page. 

5.  Add the area of all of your rooms to find the total area of your dream house. 

Later this week, (assuming the snow ever stops here in Massachusetts and we eventually get to return to school), they'll mount both pages on a big piece of construction paper and we'll display them out in the hallway. It makes for a fun bulletin board!

I love this project because the kids LOVE it, and they are using math skills the whole time. I don't like to do a lot of fluffy projects, so this is great because even during the designing phase they are fully engaged in mathematical thinking. If you want to download a copy of the project pages, click here to grab it for free from my Teachers Pay Teachers store! 

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  1. This is a perfect project to engage students in active learning. So fun.

  2. Can't wait to try this after our April testing!

    Math is Elementary

  3. I am working on area right now! My kids would love this project. Thanks for sharing.

    Third Grade Galore

  4. YAY! Love this...can't wait to do it with my students! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Great resource, thanks for sharing!

    Heidi Raki
    Raki's Rad Resources

  6. This will be a great addition to our descriptive writing project - My Dream House. We base it on The Big Orange Splot. Our fourth graders LUV designing their own dream house, and then they go crazy using WOW descriptions to help their readers visualize it. We can now carry the theme to math by reviewing area with your project! THANKS!!!

    Stephanie Hallman

    1. Ohmygosh - we just read The Big Orange Splot! What an awesome idea to connect it to that....thank YOU for that idea. Internet collaboration at work! :)

  7. Very cool use of Area and Perimeter! Thanks

  8. Wow! That’s really an interesting idea. It’s absolutely great to influence the children about having their dream houses. It helps develop their imagination and creativity, not to mention that it also allows them to be concrete with what they want, and focus on living their dreams.

    Brian Quanstorm

  9. Thanks for this. It really helped me help my son. He did excellent.

  10. I really like the project, we are gonna do the same in our student housing because it looks additive!


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