Lesson Title: Problem Solving With Area and Perimeter
Curriculum Area: Math
Technology Strand: Uses technology but does not address a technology strand
Grade Level: 4
Essential Question: What key words in a word problem help me determine when to find area and when to find perimeter?
A Activity Summary

Students will demonstrate knowledge of area and perimeter by developing area and perimeter word problems using Microsoft PowerPoint. Students will include pictures or figures to go along with their word problems. The word problems must also contain the correct key words and at least 4 answer choices, as if developing a test question. Assessment of work will be done through e instruction's Classroom Performance System where each student's word problem can be used for the whole class to answer in a subsequent lesson.

C Curriculum Math
2.02 Solve problems involving perimeter of plane figures and areas of rectangles.
T Technology Uses technology but does not address a technology strand
Activating Strategies

Students will use the Talking Drawings worksheet (see file below) to demonstrate what they already know about area and perimeter.  During this time, students will be asked to close their eyes and think about area.  Then students need to draw a picture that represents what they already know about area.

Next, the teacher will ask students to think about perimeter and to draw a picture of what comes to mind when they think of what they already know about perimeter.

Students will then be asked to explain their drawings verbally with a partner.  The teacher will monitor conversations and call on a few students to share their responses and drawings.  (This should take less than 10 minutes.)

Technology Vocabulary: 
Detailed Technology Instructions:
Cognitive Teaching Strategies

Students will then be asked to make a T-chart in their math journals.  One side of the chart will have the word area at the top and the other side will have the word perimeter. The teacher will make the same T-chart on chart paper or on the board or overhead. The teacher will then use the PowerPoint slideshow  to model identifying key words in area and perimeter word problems (see file below).

On the T-chart, students will be asked to write key words for area and perimeter found in the PowerPoint slideshow word problems. This will be the portion of the lesson that will give students the understanding of how certain key words are needed in word problems in order to identify which measurement is being used and to effectively solve the problem.

The key words identified can include the following:


  • cover
  • surface
  • floor
  • carpet
  • space
  • room
  • square units (tiles or feet)


  • edge
  • distance around
  • fence
  • length (long)
  • width (wide)
  • dimensions
  • table

This will also better students understanding of how to tell the difference between area word problems and perimeter word problems (based on the key words). 

Following the PowerPoint slideshow, the teacher will demonstrate on the overhead or board how to develop a word problem along with accompanying pictures for area and perimeter. The teacher will instruct students to start by knowing which type of problem they will be creating, area or perimeter.  Then, they should use one or two key words to help them write a scenario.  (Tell students that they must include enough information about the measurements in order to solve the problem, but they can give clues such as "the table's width was half the length" after giving the exact number for the length.)  Next, the teacher will draw a picture to match the object to be measured in the word problem.  (Tell students that they can draw a grid for either area or perimeter, as it can be used for both.)

The teacher will then take the students to the computer lab with their math journals with the key words and a pencil.  The teacher will assign each student the task of writing an area OR perimeter word problem once they are in the computer lab.  Using Net Support Tutor, the teacher will demonstrate how to open Microsoft PowerPoint, choose a blank slide layout, and insert text boxes and graphics.

The teacher will allow students approximately 30 minutes to create their word problems and insert graphics, making sure they use correct key words. 

*Early finishers can change the background color and/or font type and size or add animation to their slides OR they can create a second word problem for the other measurement that they were NOT originally assigned.  (i.e.  If a student was assigned a perimeter word problem and finished before the allotted time was up, he/she could create a area word problem.) 

**These word problems will later be used for the purpose of whole class instruction and assessment through an interactive jeopardy game called the Challenge Board in the Classroom Performance System.

Summary Strategies

Students will go back to the 'Talking Drawings" sheet to review concepts learned for area and perimeter word problems.  This will involve step 3 on the sheet where students are asked to explain in words what they know about area and perimeter, especially the key words used in word problems for each.

For directions on how to download files choose: Mac (Kid Pix or Microsoft  Works), Windows (Kid Pix or Microsoft Works or Office), or Mac/PC (AppleWorks).
Microsoft Word Files

Microsoft PowerPoint Files
Re-teaching and Enrichment Activities

The concept for this lesson plan was submitted by

Donna  Belcher

 Alderman Elementary, Data last modified: 5/31/2006