## Dear Family, your Operation Maths guide to Area

Category : Uncategorized

Dear Family, below is a brief guide to understanding the topic of area, as well as some practical suggestions as to how you might support your children’s understanding at home. Also below, are a series of links to digital resources that will help both the children, and you, learn more about length. The digital resources are organised according to approximate class level:

#### Understanding Area

Area is the size a surface takes up: the size of the space that the grass of your garden covers, the size of the space on the cover of an Operation Maths book, the size of space that your house covers on its site. As children often confuse area and perimeter encourage them to compare these copncepts to real examples eg:

- Garden: Area = the ground covered by lawn, decking and/or patio; perimeter = the length of fencing or walls.
- Room: Area = the space covered by flooring (carpets, tiles etc.); perimeter = the length of the skirting boards or length of walls.
- Playground or school yard: Area = the space covered by tarmac, grass etc; perimeter = the length of the fencing or walls.

Area is measured in square units. Like other measures, area has been traditionally measured using two separate systems: imperial units/US customary units (square foot, square yards, acres, square miles) and metric measures (square centimetres i.e. cm^{2} , square metres i.e. m^{2} , hectares and square kilometres i.e. km^{2}). In Ireland, the changeover to all metric measures began in the early 1970s and was completed in 2005. Therefore, only metric measures are taught in Irish schools.

In school, the children are first introduced to area in second class, where, using non-standard measures, like books, copies, cards, envelopes (see above), they start to estimate and measure how many are required to cover various surfaces. They will be enabled to consider space on a surface and which has the greater area (covers more) or the lesser area (covers less) as shown below.

In third and fourth classes the children measure area by counting square units. In fifth and sixth classes the children estimate, measure and calculate area using the standard metric square units (square centimetres i.e. cm^{2} , square metres i.e. m^{2} , hectares and square kilometres i.e. km^{2}) will also explore “short cuts” like using formulas for area ie Area of a Rectangle = Length x Width. However, it is hope that the children come to deduce this “short cut” for themselves, after lots of exploratory work, rather than just being given it.

Do you know how the metric system came into being? It has an interesting history! Watch this video and/or read this article. For more background info on area you can read these posts from Maths is Fun and SplashLearn.

#### Practical Suggestions for all Children

- Draw your child’s attention to area and perimeter in their lives at home and beyond, and make distinctions between the two maths terms:
- Garden: Area = the ground covered by lawn, decking and/or patio; perimeter = the length of fencing or walls.
- Room: Area = the space covered by flooring (carpets, tiles etc.); perimeter = the length of the skirting boards or length of walls.
- Playground or school yard: Area = the space covered by tarmac, grass etc; perimeter = the length of the fencing or walls.

- Encourage younger children to play with shapes like pattern blocks, tangrams etc. How many of one shape is required to cover another?
- Encourage your child to identify their own personal benchmarks for these metric measures e.g. the top of a child’s little finger covers approximately 1 cm
^{2}; look around the house to find a window or mat of anything that is approximately 1 m^{2}. This will help the child relate to these units of area and to internalise them. - Involve your child in any area measuring activity that might be required around the home. Reseeding the lawn? How much grass seed is required for that area? Getting new carpet or flooring? Painting the walls? How do you calculate the area to make sure the correct amount is bought?

#### Digital Resources for Second to Fourth Classes

Maths at Home – Area: (Year 4) a series of lessons.

Matholia – Area: A number of video lessons including Introduction to Area and Comparing Area.

Khan Academy – Area (Third Grade): Watch the videos and then answer the practice questions. You can also register for a free Khan Academy account to record your progress and explore other topics/grades.

Happy Numbers Third Grade: Pupils could start the activities in Module 4, Topic A, B and D. When completed they could move on to all the topics in Grade 4, Module 2, Topic A.

Area & Perimeter: Tool from Toy Theater, for exploring and creating shapes with various areas. Another similar tool is this one from Maths Frame

Area Builder: Choose GAME. You will be challenged to build a shape with an area of a specific number of square units. (You could also try the EXPLORE option allows you to build shapes of various areas).

Area Games: From Splash Learn

I know it: Choice of games including Counting Square Units and Area of Rectangles and Squares

Area: a selection of games from ixl.com. You can do a number of free quizzes each day without having a subscription. Choose your class level.

Area: Practice games from Math Games. Choose your class level.

#### Digital Resources for Fifth and Sixth Classes

Maths at Home – Area: (Year 4) a series of lessons, that could be followed up with the Area lessons in Year 5.

Matholia – Area: A number of video lessons inclding Introduction to Area, Comparing Area, Measuring Area in Sq Centimetres, Area & Length of a Square, Finding the Area of Composite Figures and an Area Problem Solving Lesson.

Khan Academy – Area (Third Grade): Watch the videos and then answer the practice questions. Afterwards, for something more challenging, look at the Fourth Grade activities on Area and Perimeter. You can also register for a free Khan Academy account to record your progress and explore other topics/grades.

Happy Numbers Third Grade: Pupils could start the activities in Module 4, Topic A, B and D. When completed they could move on to all the topics in Grade 4, Module 2, Topic A.

Area & Perimeter: Tool from Toy Theater, for exploring and creating shapes with various areas. Another similar tool is this one from Maths Frame

Area Builder: Choose GAME. You will be challenged to build a shape with an area of a specific number of square units. (You could also try the EXPLORE option allows you to build shapes of various areas).

Scootle – Compound Shapes: Play this game to find the area.

That Quiz – Geometry: Options to calculate the area of rectangles, triangles, circles and trapezoids. You can also choose to calculate the length of the perimeter of the shapes.

Area Games: From Splash Learn

I know it: Choice of games including Counting Square Units, Area of Rectangles and Squares, Area of Rectangles 1, Area of Rectangles 2 and Area of Triangles

Area: a selection of games from ixl.com. You can do a number of free quizzes each day without having a subscription. Choose your class level.

Area: Practice games from Math Games. Choose your class level.

Math is Fun – Area: Background information on length and its main metric units.