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Area and Perimeter of Leaves

Elementary, Middle

Description

This innovative activity pairs nature and math to reinforce key concepts related to surface area and perimeter.  Students locate leaf specimens and then use rulers, string and graph paper to calculate the area and perimeter of each sample. 

General Assessment

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This activity offers a meaningful way for students to strengthen their understanding of how factors like shape can affect the perimeter and area of objects.  The outdoor learning could be expanded by having students measure and calculate the area and perimeter of habitat types within school grounds and creating a scale map that shows the natural features of the school yard. 

Science concepts can be easily integrated with the math learning by having students identify their leaf specimens using a dichotomous key, classify and sort leaves according to taxonomic criteria or examining leaf structures with magnifying instruments.  In the fall the math lesson could also be partnered with a unit exploring seasonal changes and adaptations of deciduous and coniferous trees to cold weather.

Relevant Curriculum Units

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        • Polygons are closed shapes with similar attributes that can be described, measured, and compared
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        • Closed shapes have area and perimeter that can be described, measured, and compared
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        • Properties of objects and shapes can be described, measured, and compared using volume, area, perimeter, and angles
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        • Polygons are closed shapes with similar attributes that can be described, measured, and compared
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      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Math
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Closed shapes have area and perimeter that can be described, measured, and compared
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Math
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Properties of objects and shapes can be described, measured, and compared using volume, area, perimeter, and angles

Themes Addressed

  • Ecosystems (2)

    • Appreciating the Natural World
    • Biodiversity