What is my area?

I love this activity by Bruce Ferrington with his students.

What Is My Area?

Wait – before you say anything – I know your body is 3-dimensional and area is a measurement of two dimensions – so I probably should say, “What is the area of my silhouette?”


What is the area of my silhouette?

In the past week we have measured height and width, talked about Vitruvian Man, combined our heights, compared them with other classes.

Time to have a look at comparing areas.

My chief interest here is to look at how the kids are going to approach this question. I want to see if they can come up with any short-cuts that will speed up the calculations, so they don’t have to cover their entire body in 1cm grid paper and count out each square.

Students finding area with sticky notes

Read more about the activity at his blog.

Open ended problem: Parking lot

Parking Lot

I thought of this investigation as I was walking home and happened to notice an unusually shaped parking lot. It made me wonder if the way the parking spots were arranged within the parking lots was the most efficient way to pack the cars in. Obviously the picture above is a sample, and you are free to choose whatever parking lot you would like to share with your students.

Question: What is the most efficient way of creating parking spots within a parking lot so that as many cars as possible are able to park in the parking lot, and so that each of these cars can leave whenever they want?

Here is a Geogebra applet I designed to allow students to explore different arrangements themselves.