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Trent Wardle

S00099220 2013

Assignment 2: Unit Planning

In looking for a subject that I wanted to focus on for this unit planning
assignment, I wanted to try and create a few different ways of presenting
material to students instead of just the plain old board/text book work. So with
that in mind, I thought that choosing to focus on 'Using units of measurement'
within the Measurement & Geometry strand, would be an area that I could best
apply this tactic. Some of the strategies I have used include incorporating
modelling tasks that helps facilitate a problem solving environment and enables
class discussions to take place by using real world situations/context. Blum and
Niss (1991), argue that the "incorporation of problem solving, applications and
modelling aspects and activities in mathematics instruction is well suited to
assist students in acquiring, learning and keeping mathematical concepts,
notions, methods and results, by providing motivation for and relevance of
mathematical studies. " This idea of providing motivation is also maintained by
Stillman, Brown, and Galbraith, (2008), but they also add that "the goal is to
equip students with skills that enable them to apply and communicate
mathematics in relation to the solving of problems in their world." Using tasks
like this also gives students the opportunity to take control of their learning and
as such enables the teacher to become a facilitator of this learning experience.
This leads on to the premise of "strengthening students' self-regulation of
learning requires that teachers actively engage them in complex mathematical
tasks that require them to construct their mathematics understanding in
meaningful ways, as well as addressing their individual needs and learning
styles" (Paek, 2010). These are the types of tasks that are to be considered for
this unit plan to help achieve these goals.
Along with modelling there are degrees of estimating embedded within some of
the tasks. "Estimation plays an important role in learning both the principles and
procedures of measurement. As well as giving students the opportunity to
become engaged in mathematical activities such as problem solving, the
application of other area of mathematics, and explorations of the link between
abstract mathematics ideas and real-world applications" (Gooya, Khosroshahi,
Teppo, 2011).
Also within this unit are opportunity for students to engage with visual and more
'concrete' materials to assist with tasks. This enables a more hands on approach
and gives students a different perspective of 2d and 3d figures and how area and
volume can be seen this way.
This unit aims to build upon each lesson by incorporating various techniques and
content learnt throughout the classes. This can be seen done in a number of
activities where students will need to combine knowledge of say volume and
surface area to complete a task. This enables students to continue to maintain
and build their level of understanding so that each student has every chance of
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Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

S00099220 2013

becoming fully competent in this area. These same tasks enable the teacher the
opportunity to gauge how students are going and help can be given. Students
who are 'coping' can be identified also, and the opportunity then exists to push
them to the next level. This can also be seen in the outline of the unit, where
there is equal opportunity for time spent on introducing topics and for time on
enhancing those topics.

Unit Planner
Content strand: Measurement and Geometry
Focus: Using Units of Measurement
Year level: 9
Lesson
number
1

3
4

5
6

9
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Topic
Introduction to Measurement
Brainstorming
Area of Composite shapes
Building Understanding
Worksheets
Area of Composite shapes continued
Area of parallelograms, trapeziums,
rhombuses and kites
Beginning Activity
Drawing Activity
House Activity
Surface area
Introduction activity
Worksheets
Surface Area Continued
Tangram activity
Klein Cube activity
Volume
Introduction
Volume of boxes activity
Volume Continued
Tall vs. Short activity

Orientating

Orientating

Enhancing

Orientating
Enhancing/Evaluating
Orientating

Enhancing

Orientating/Enhancing
Enhancing/Evaluating

Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

10
Lesson 1113
14

S00099220 2013
Can in a Box activity
Ballot Problem
Student Task: Baby in the Car
Trivia competition

Enhancing/Evaluating
Enhancing/Evaluating
Enhancing

Australian Curriculum/AusVELS
Standards and Outcomes
Level 9 Achievement Standard: (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and
Reporting Authority, 2013)
Measurement and Geometry:
Students solve measurement problems involving perimeter and area of
composite shapes, surface area and volume of rectangular prisms and cylinders,
with and without the use of digital technology. They relate three-dimensional
objects to two-dimensional representations. Students explain similarity of
triangles, interpret rations and scale factors in similar figures, and apply
Pythagoras's theorem and trigonometry to solve problems involving angles and
lengths in right-angled triangles.
Scope & Sequence:(ACARA, 2013)

Calculate the areas of composite shapes

Find perimeters and areas of parallelograms, trapeziums, rhombuses and
kites
Solve problems involving the surface area and volume of right prisms
Calculate the surface area and volume of cylinders and solve related
problems (May need to include this)

Proficiency strands: (ACARA, 2013)

Understanding: Includes describing the relationship between graphs and
equations, simplifying a range of algebraic expressions, explaining the use of
relative frequencies to estimate probabilities, and the use of trigonometric ratios
for right-angled triangles
Fluency: Includes applying the index laws to expressions with integer indices,
expressing numbers in scientific notation, listing outcomes for experiments and
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Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

S00099220 2013

developing familiarity with calculations involving the Cartesian plane and

calculating areas of shapes and surface areas of prisms.
Problem Solving: Includes formulating, and modelling practical situations
involving surface areas and volumes of right prisms, applying ratio and scale
factors to similar figures, solving problems involving right angle trigonometry,
and collecting data from secondary sources to investigate an issue.
Reasoning: Includes following mathematics arguments, evaluating media reports
and using statistical knowledge to clarify situations, developing strategies in
investigating similarity and sketching linear graphs.

Lesson 1: Introduction to Measurement

Aim: Getting students prepared for the unit of work by revisting and
recalling on prior knowledge gained in previous years of studying
measurement.
Year 8 student outcomes (ACARA, 2013):

Choose appropriate units of measurement for area and volume and

convert from one unit to another
Find perimeters and areas of parallelograms, rhombuses and kites
Investigate the relationship between features of circles such as
circumference, area, radius and diameter. Use formulas to solve problems
involving circumference and area
Develop the formulas for volumes of rectangular and triangular prisms and
prisms in genera;. Use formulas to solve problems involving volume.
Solve problems involving duration, including using 12 and 24 hour time
within a single time zone.

Activities
Brainstorming:
Getting students as a class or in groups to discuss aspects of
measurement. Things to consider could be; What comes to mind when
thinking of measurment? What types/ways are there of measureing
things? What can be measured? etc.
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Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

S00099220 2013

Have students estimate and consider ways of measuring various types of
objects such as the height of the room etc. Also can look at the picture
analysis task (see appendix 1) where students will need to determine the
height shown in the given picture. This is not limited to this picture but
can have other pictures as well to incite discussion within the class. The
results from this can them be discussed with the class where you can get
the whole class thinking about the accuracy of their findings

Resources

Ruler, measuring device to assist in Estimation/Modelling task

Display of the picture to be looked at. May need to resort to
handouts if projector not available.

Lesson 2: Area of Composite shapes

Aim: Begin work on the study of Composite shapes

Students solve measurement problems involving perimeter and area of

composite shapes
Fluency: Calculating areas of shapes
Problem Solving

Activities:
Building Understanding:
Possible use of geoboards, if available, or computer software/paper to give
students the opportunity to develop work on composite shapes. Also
understanding that partitioning composite shapes into rectangles and triangles is
a strategy for solving problems involving area.
Worksheets:
Have a few introductory activities and then build to some problems for students
to work on during class (see Appendix 2.) Not Limited to these worksheets just
an example for what could be used.
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Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

S00099220 2013

Area of Australia:
Have the problem set up of trying to determine the area of Australia by dividing
it up into shapes and determining the area of those to a scale length. This could
be done from an atlas or by giving students a map of Australia. This can then be
compared to the actual area of Australia to see how close students were.

Resources

Geoboards or relevant materials for building understanding activity

Worksheets
Map of Australia

Sequence
Building on understanding and learning of area from previous lesson. This will
continue on to the next lesson. Depending on how periods are structured lesson
2 and 3 could be done together, or even 1 and 2.

Lesson 3: Area of Composite shapes continued

Aim: Continue work on the area of composite shapes

Students solve measurement problems involving perimeter and area of

composite shapes
Fluency: Calculating areas of shapes
Problem Solving
Reasoning

Activities
Use something like that of the Christmas calendar task as set up in appendix 3.
This could be done as a group/pair task or individually completed and provides a
situation where working out areas of composite shapes to take on a 'real world'
meaning. This task could be extended to include aspects of cost analysis as well
as other aspects of mathematics to extend the learning experience.

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Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

S00099220 2013

This lesson can also be used to gauge students understanding of calculating

areas of composite shapes and can provide time to assist students who may be
finding trouble with the current topic. Along with this, time to continue work on
the previous lessons activities can be made available .

Resources

Lesson 2 resources
Christmas calendar resources (See appendix 3)

Sequence
This lesson continues on from Lesson 2 by building skills in estimation and
problem solving as well as gaining understanding in working out areas of
complex shapes. This lesson will then lead on with that of working out the areas
of the different shapes introduced in the next lesson

Lesson 4: Area of parallelograms, trapeziums, rhombuses and kites

Aim: Students should begin to feel comfortable in determine ways in which to
calculate areas of the shapes considered so far. This lesson will introduce the
ways of determining the area of each of the given shapes in the lesson title.

Find perimeters and areas of parallelograms, trapeziums, rhombuses and

kites
Problem solving
Understanding

Activities
Beginning activity:
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Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

S00099220 2013

Introduce the shapes that form the topic of this lesson to the students. This
could simply be done by having them up on the board and discussing with the
class on how to find the area of each shape.
Drawing activity:
One idea I have is instead of jumping straight to formula work, get students to
draw the various shapes, possibly on a dotted page/grid page and have them try
and calculate the areas that way. Then see if students are able to determine their
own rules/formula to determine the area of each shape. This would help by
drawing various sized images of the same type of shape to help students find
similarities. After students have spent some time on this, there is the option to
discuss their findings as a class, then, if need be, go through the actual formulas
with students.
This activity could be enhanced by using an application on the computer, via the
internet, to help students graph their shapes and help in the initial stages of
determine the areas
Resources

Dotted/grid paper for students

Computer application such as an online geoboard for example

Sequence
Students will continue to maintain and build on their understanding of
measurement. The information gained from this lesson and from the previous
lessons will be important to help students with the next lesson where students
will be required to map out a floor plan of their homes and determine the area of
that.

Lesson 5: House Activity

Aim: Having students utilise what they have learnt so far in drawing up and
determining areas for their own house. This will help reinforce the topics of area
and will provide a class where the teacher is able to evaluate the students
current progress in this content strand.

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Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

S00099220 2013

Find perimeters and areas of parallelograms, trapeziums, rhombuses and

kites
Understanding
Fluency
Problem Solving
Reasoning

Activity
Get students to map out/draw a version of their home by utilising the shapes
that they are familiar with so far. I image this as looking like a floor plan of their
house so it might be wise to provide students with an example at the start to
give them an idea of where to start for their own house. Then have students
determine different areas of their house and record their method and answers to
show understanding of the area. This could be down on A4 sized paper but I think
an A3 size would enable students to provide both working and diagram on the
same paper which would be easier for them. Depending on the capabilities of the
students the results could see some houses utilising more complex composite
shapes down to the very basic of rectangles/triangles.

Resources

Paper (A3), craft materials

An example of a floor plan to use as a starter
rulers etc
grid paper might be useful for students to map their houses on

Sequence
This lesson ties in the content from lessons 1 to 4 so would be wise to keep this
after those lessons. This lesson could also be completed after work on surface
area has been done and as a result could enable the task to include aspects of
this as well.

Lesson 6: Surface Area

Aim: By utilising the knowledge gained in previous lessons on area, students will
begin to apply this to determining the total surface area of various shapes.
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Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

S00099220 2013

Solve problems involving the surface area of right prisms

Calculate the surface area of cylinders
Problem Solving: Includes formulating, and modelling practical situations
involving surface areas

Activities
Introduction activity:
Have the idea of bringing in to class some 3d models that can be assembled and
disassembled for students. This will be useful to show to students the different
faces/sides of a shape that need to be considered when determine the total
surface area of a shape. Instead of just explaining this to students, there is the
option to pose the question to the students by asking them how they would work
out the total area of these models. Another question that could be asked is to ask
students to consider how they might determine the total surface area of their
classroom or some other relevant building. The idea for this activity is to enable
students to separate 3d shapes into 2d shapes that can them be used to find the
area.
Worksheet:
Remainder of lesson can be dedicated to working on some problems for a
worksheet or other relevant exercises
Resources

Models (can be created using card board/paper) that can be easily

unfolded to highlight the many faces of the shape. Other ideas could
includes boxes (cereal box for example) or a Pringles container(nice
cylinder shape to measure)
Worksheet/exercise

Sequence
This lesson begins students work on Surface area and will be completed once
students have finished work on the previous lessons of area. This lesson will then
continue on to the lesson 7 where students will continue work on surface area by
introducing some different activities

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Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

S00099220 2013

Aim: A couple activities to provide some variety and help develop some deeper
thinking.

Spatial reasoning
Logical/Critical thinking
Problem Solving

Activities
Tangram:
Here students will be given the task of creating various shapes from the tangram
pieces. A nice little activity promoting spatial reasoning and logical thinking but
also sticking to the content area of measurement. Though could be also used
when studying geometry and exploring the task further there. See appendix 4
Klein Cube:
Again, another nice activity that is slightly more complex than the previous
activity but again contributes to the learning of surface area and the use of nets.
See appendix 5 for full task.
Resources

Paper and materials to give to students so they can build and create the
items from the activities.

Sequencing
This lesson provides some activities that aren't limited to being used at this time.
I suggest these activities as additions to the previous lessons on surface area
and could be used in conjunction with those or for I might be looking for an
activity to run for another lesson.

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Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

S00099220 2013

Lesson 8: Volume
Aim: By now students will have completed work on various types of area
calculation. Now by using this knowledge students will be able to consider the
addition of height/depth to calculate the volume of various shapes and objects.

Solve problems involving volume of right prisms

Problem Solving: Includes formulating, and modelling practical situations
involving volumes of right prisms

Activities
Introduction:
Reuse some of the models used for Lesson 6 to use as examples to show to
students how one might go about determining the volume of each of these
shapes. Along with this, provide the opportunity for students to understand that
volume can be easily determine by finding the area of say the base of an object
and multiplying it by the height.
Volume of boxes activity:
This activity requires students to determine the area of various boxes created
using grid paper. The idea is to cut out a square from each corner and then fold
the remaining 'net' into a box. Then students will determine the area of the box
created. The main task will require students to cut varying sized squares to
create different sized boxes and determining which will yield the greatest
volume. A full write up of the task can be found in the appendix 6.
Resources

Models used from Lesson 6

Grid paper and craft materials to assemble boxes

Sequence
This lesson begins students study of volume and will be timed to occur once
lessons involving area have been completed. In terms of the next lesson I am
thinking that this would work well for a double period as the activity from this
lesson could require more than the 50 mins allowed for each lesson. As well as
the fact that the next lesson will involve some activities for volume of cylinders
and I think it is beneficial that students see that determining the volume of
cylinders is similar to that of cubes, boxes etc.

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Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

S00099220 2013

Lesson 9: Volume continued

Aim: This lesson will continue on from the previous lesson by adding the
measuring of the volume of cylinders.

Solve problems involving the surface area and volume of right prisms
Calculate the surface area and volume of cylinders and solve related
problems
Problem Solving: Includes formulating, and modelling practical situations
involving volumes of right prisms

Activities
Apart for time to continue work from lesson 9 this lesson can include the
following.
Tall vs. Short activity:
For this activity I will have two cylinders each created from an A4 piece of paper.
However one has been folded around its length while the other using its width,
thus creating one tall and one short cylinder. Then ask the students which would
hold the greater volume or if they would be the same. After some discussion
students can then go about calculating the actual volume of each cylinder to find
out the answer to this problem. This activity used in conjunction with the box
activity from lesson 9 can be used to incite discussion as in to why the differing
volume results occurred.
Can in box problem:
This activity asks the question of how many cans one might fit into a cardboard
box. This could be set up on the board giving measurements, or having the
actual box and can to show the class. This can lead to a brainstorming idea on
how this could be calculated to provide an accurate answer. Simply following the
procedure of dividing the volume of the box by that of the can is one way of
solving this but does it provide a reasonable answer. Having the actual box and
can in class would be handy in providing a more concrete material to assist in
solving this problem
Resources

Couple A4 pieces of paper to create the two cylinders, or more so that

students can create their own

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Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

S00099220 2013

Cardboard box and a can (preferably one that fits the cylindrical shape
familiar to students)
If continuing on from previous lesson, then will require materials from that
lesson as well

Sequencing
As mentioned in the previous lesson, this lesson would work well in conjunction
with lesson 9 to help build the students understanding of volume.

Lesson 10: Ballot problem

Aim: This lesson will be used to tie together the range of content covered so far
by providing the opportunity for students to work together to solve the problem

Calculate the areas of composite shapes

Find perimeters and areas of parallelograms, trapeziums, rhombuses and
kites
Solve problems involving the surface area and volume of right prisms
Calculate the surface area and volume of cylinders and solve related
problems
Problem solving
Reasoning

Activity:
Students will be given the task of solving the problem posed in the activity (See
appendix 7). Here students will work in groups to determine how best to solve
this problem and incite discussion within each group. Along with this students
will be required to use aspects of surface area and volume in order to solve this
task. This task gives a range of options for the teacher to step in and assist but
mostly allows students to engage in their own learning. Some visual aids like
having a ream of paper might help in allowing students to measure that to help
in their estimations and assumptions. This task can be concluded by bringing the
class together and discussing each groups results

Resources

Way of displaying the problem via projector or have handouts for each
group
Visual aids such as a box of paper to prompt ideas if students are having
trouble

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Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

S00099220 2013

Sequence
This lesson will be used to tie in students' understanding of volume with area. As
such this lesson should be completed after the initial lessons on volume have
been completed but can be used as an activity for the study of volume as well.

For the purpose of the Student Task I have decided to use the task "Baby in the
Car" task outlined on the Maths 300 website
The reason why I have chosen this task is because it incorporates the aspects of
volume and surface area covered in this topic, as well as that of problem solving,
modelling, spatial reasoning, and a real life context. So not only is it appropriate
in terms of satisfying requirements of the outcomes for this topic but it also
creates a task in which students can develop other areas of mathematics.
Technology can also be used in this task to help assist in modelling the situation
which gives the students a visual representation of the problem at hand. Also
there is the option to create a presentation as well which can be used to extend
I have provided the full activity in the appendix 8 section.

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Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

S00099220 2013

Lesson 14: Trivia Competition

Aim: A nice way to finish of the topic of measurement by having a competition
among the students in the form of a trivia contest.
Activity:
Have students split into teams where they will be competing against one
another in the form of a trivia contest. I suggest have 3-4 rounds set up so that
there is enough time to both complete each round and tally the scores. Each
round will consists of various questions covering topics of area, surface area and
volume as well as including some general knowledge questions. These general
knowledge questions could include pop culture, sports etc to add a bit of flavour
to the competition. Can have some prizes set up for the winning team, or
depending on the number of teams, have a 1st,2nd and 3rd placing for prizes.
Resources

Require rounds of questions set up that combine general knowledge and

topics from this unit
Prizes if one wants to give them

Sequence
I have set this as a lesson to be completed at the end of the unit as it can be
used to target all the topics covered so far, but this doesn't stop one from using
this say halfway through the unit to help break it up a bit. If going for the half
way option then questions will then be targeted more towards what has been
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Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

S00099220 2013

covered so far. However I like this as a finisher as it provides a nice way to end
the topic and can be fun for both the students and the teacher.

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Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

S00099220 2013

References
Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority, (2013).
http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/Mathematics/Content-structure
Blum, W., & Niss, M., (1991). Applied mathematical problem solving, modelling,
applications, and links to other subjects State, trends and issues in
mathematics instruction. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 22, 37-68.
http://www.cimt.plymouth.ac.uk/
Gooya, Z., Khosroshahi, L. G., Teppo, A. R. (2011). Iranian students' measurement
estimation performance involving linear and area attributes of real-world
objects. ZDM, 43(5), 709-722.
Paek, L. P. (2010), Factors contributing to gender differences in mathematics
performance of united states high school students. In H. J. Forgasz, J. R.
Becker, K. H. Lee & O. B. Steinthorsdottir (Eds.), International Perspective
on Gender and Mathematics Education (pp. 203 - 224). Charlotte, NC:
Information Age Publishing
Stillman, G., Brown, J., & Galbraith, P. (2008), Research into the teaching and
learning of applications and modelling in Australasia. In H. Forgasz, A.
Barkatsas, A. Bishop, B. Clarke, S. Keast, W. T. Seah & P. Sullivan (Eds.),
Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia: Research in
Mathematics Education in Australasia 2004-2007 (pp. 141 - 164).
Rotterdam, The Netherlands : Sense publishers.

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Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

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Appendix
1. Picture Analysis Task Source: LEMA project, 2013
The situation
The next picture was taken in Strasbourg (France) in a meeting with
teachers.

From what height is the photograph taken?

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Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

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Shape Divisions

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Area Calculations

Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

S00099220 2013

3. Calendar Activity Source:

LEMA Project, 2013
In Germany many children get
They start on the 1st of December.
Every day until Christmas Eve
children can open one door and
find a piece of chocolate or a small
gift behind it. You can buy these calendars in the shop or sometimes children
make them themselves and their parents fill them.
In the picture you can see a Christmas calendar Nina wants to have. It is made
out of felt and has 24 bags to fill. The originality of this particular calendar is that
the bags get bigger until the 24th of December. As you can see the bag for the
December 1st is quite small, while the one for the 24th is quite big .

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Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

S00099220 2013

How much felt will Nina need? Reflect on an appropriate size for the calendar and
think about how big the bags will be.

4. Tangram activity Source: Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching,

2013
Cut out the following square into 7 shapes:

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Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

S00099220 2013

Rearrange the pieces you have cut out to form:

(a) a square from two triangles, and then change it to a parallelogram;
(b) a rectangle using three pieces, and then change it into a parallelogram;
(c) a trapezium with three pieces;
(d) a parallelogram with four pieces;
(e) a trapezium from the square, parallelogram and the two small triangles;
(f) a triangle with three pieces;
(g) a rectangle with all seven pieces.
Finally, put the pieces back together to form the original square.

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Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

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S00099220 2013

Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

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Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

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S00099220 2013

Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

S00099220 2013

6. Volume of Boxes Source: Maths 300, 2013

Obtain a 10 by 20 centimetre piece of grid paper. Cut a small square out of each
corner and fold the remainder into a box. What size cut-out square gives the
maximum volume for the box?

1. Getting started: making boxes

The major intention of the introduction is to invite each group to make a set of boxes and
have these on their table for inspection and analysis. Quickly demonstrate with one piece of
paper or cardboard, that if you cut a square out of each corner, the remainder can be folded
into a box.
Hand out 6 pieces of 10 x 20 centimetre grid paper to each group of 4 students. Ask each
group to make 6 'boxes' by cutting out squares of sizes 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 cm from each
corner.
The square of 0 cm is just the original piece of paper and the cut-out of 5 cm gives no width.
Both are very worthwhile attempting to experience visually the zero volume, and the limits of
the problem.

2. Calculating volumes

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Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

S00099220 2013

Which box do you think holds the most? (i.e. has the greatest volume?)

I thought it was obvious that they varied, but in one class when I asked students to guess, a
surprising number thought they would all have the same volume since they all came from the
same piece of paper.
Another student claimed that the box with the smallest corner cut-out (i.e. the cut-out square
of length 1) would hold the most because that was the one with the most paper left.
Ask each group to calculate the height, length and width of each box and then to calculate the
volume.
Cut-out Square

Height

Length

Width

Volume

0
1
2
3
4
5

The grid lines on the paper made it easy for students to find the dimensions and hence
calculate the volume.
It also helped to have a few cubic centimetre blocks available to make the imagery of filling
the box (the volume) even more concrete.
Cut-out Square

Height

Length

Width

Volume

20

10

18

144

16

192

14

168

12

96

10

Page 28 of 37

Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

S00099220 2013

3. Finding the maximum volume

A graph of the above table shows the volume initially increasing and then decreasing. The
main point to establish is that for some cut-out square there must be a maximum. So now the
lesson becomes the investigative search for this maximum.
The graph makes it look like the maximum is a square of 2cm. Do you think a
cut-out square of size 25 would give a different volume. Would this be the
maximum?
A calculator search

Ask students to extend their table to add the 25 cm square. The length width and height are
easy but a calculator may be desirable for the volume calculation.
Cut-out Square
25

Height
25

Length
15

Width
5

Volume
1875

It can now be seen this is not the maximum, but it is close and the experiment seeds the
thought that other sized cut-out squares could be tested.
Extending the calculator search
If a computer is not available, then a group sharing the labour of calculation can quickly work
out the volumes for squares of sizes 21 to 24.
Cut-out Square

Height

Length

Width

Volume

16

192

21

21

158

58

192444

22

22

156

56

192193

23

23

154

54

191268

24

24

152

52

189696

25

25

15

1875

Hence 21 now gives the greatest volume - and the calculator search could be extended to any
required degree of accuracy.

Page 29 of 37

Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

S00099220 2013

Recently, on the 25th of April, on 2006, the Spanish opposition party presented to the
congress 4,000,000 signatures against a new law promoted by the government.

All Spanish newspapers published pictures with the large boxes and the 10 vans
needed to transport the sheets of paper to the congress. Do you think there was
a political intention behind this staging or were all these boxes and vans really
necessary to carry the 400 0000 signatures ?
This gives some suggestions about how one might attempt to tackle the Tasks
contained in this module.
Try to calculate, approximately, the volume occupied by the sheets of paper that
contain the signatures. Assumptions have to be made about the number of
signatures per sheet and whether both sides of each sheet are used or not.
For instance: 10 signatures per sheet on one side only will require 4.000.000
10 = 400.000 sheets.
What is the volume occupied by this number of sheets of paper?
The typical box containing 2500 sheets of paper can be
used (measures are approximate):
31 cm x 23 cm x 25 cm = 25000 cm3 = 0,025 m3
That means that 400.000 2500 =
160 boxes are needed, occupying,
approximately: 160 x 0,025 = 4 m3
Finally, we need to know the capacity of each van.
This information can be found at a van rental webpage.
Consequently, a single van is enough to carry the signs to
the Congress.
Considering that a low estimate of the number of signatures per sheet of paper
has been made, it seems that 10 vans were not needed.
Page 30 of 37

Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

S00099220 2013

8. Baby in Car Source: Math 300, 2013

Investigation Sheet A
THE STRANGER WHO BROKE THE CAR WINDOW

It was a February heatwave. Michael Jones was driving to the shops with his six
months old son. He parked his car, grabbed the shopping list, looked at his son
who was now asleep and thought, I'll only be about twenty minutes, I won't
wake him, I'll leave him in the car. So he wound up all the windows, locked the
doors and went off to his shopping.
A little while later, on returning to the car he saw someone smashing in the side
window. He ran to the car. What do you think you are doing, he cried, trying to
steal my son?
Steal him, said the stranger, I'm trying to save his life!

Why did the stranger think the baby's life was endangered?
Was it really in danger?

If so, would Michael Jones have been unsafe in the car under
the same circumstances?

Page 31 of 37

Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

S00099220 2013

Now you be good Sweetie.

just going into the shop
quickly. We'll lock the
doors so you'll be safe.

1. Getting started

Hand out investigation sheet A and allow time for the students to take in its messages.
"You may wonder why I chose to include this in our mathematics class. The
reason is that a mathematical principle is involved which some parents don't
understand. We will get to that soon, but firstly do you have any comments to
make about these media reports. For example, do you think the parents involved
were deliberately being cruel?"

This part of the lesson offers a good opportunity to discuss social issues surrounding the
problem. It can also be used as a launch-pad into cross-curricular activities regarding health
and safety issues.
Allow discussion to develop so that students feel they are able to express whatever they need
to say about these events. Issues which may come up are:

Page 32 of 37

Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

S00099220 2013

the factors/pressures in daily life which could lead a parent to deciding to

leave a baby in a car

recognition that it can be either male or female parent who makes this
mistake

2. Introducing the mathematical model

Draw discussion towards why a baby suffers in a way that adults would not. Experts tell us
that, it is more due to dehydration than excessive heat.
Experts tell us the problem for babies is not the heat, but rather that our bodies try to keep us
cool by evaporating moisture through our skin. The mathematical principle I mentioned
explains why this dehydration is more dangerous for a baby than an adult. It shows us that
there is an important difference between a baby and an adult.
Some of our year 10 classes have a program where they have to care for a life-like electronic
doll. They bring it to class and have to respond with parental care to its 'needs'. I always use
this lesson in conjunction with this program. It is one of our attempts at broadening our interdisciplinary approach to learning.
Give out nine wooden cubes to each pupil or pair. 2cm cubes are best.
"In trying to understand complex issues, mathematicians often create simplified
versions to explore and learn from. These are called mathematical models. To
understand this problem, let's start by representing the baby with one cube - not
a very good looking child I admit, but a starting point. I want you to build an
'adult' which is twice as big in all directions."

I like the way this lessons illustrates the purpose and power of a mathematical model.
Explain again that dehydration is moisture escaping through the surface of the skin.

Page 33 of 37

Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

S00099220 2013

Our model baby is one unit of volume. How many units of skin area does it have
through which moisture can escape?
... Six is correct...

I found it more effective to keep the language simple and to avoid jargon such as surface area
to volume ratio, in favour of using student-generated language.
Recording measurements in a chart like this makes it clear that the 'baby' is at a disadvantage
Surface
Area

Volume

Comparison

Baby

6 to 1

24

3 to 1

Baby: one unit of volume and six squares of surface through which
moisture can escape.

Adult: for each unit of volume there are three surfaces through which
moisture can escape.

Students can readily see, and express the fact that, in babies, for each unit of volume there is
twice as much surface area for evaporation.
3. Extending the model

An important aspect of modelling is to recognise the weaknesses in the assumptions and try
to improve the model.
But this is not a baby - and this is not an adult. So do you find the results
convincing?
How could we make a more realistic adult - will the same effect still be evident?

With more blocks, students can build more realistic baby and adult models. For example:
Students can create their own models, or use the example.
Calculate your volumes and surface areas to discover whether the baby is still at

Page 34 of 37

Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

S00099220 2013

Summarise results on the board.

As students refined their models there was enormous discussion and considerable practise at
counting or calculating volume and surface area.
One pupil created a quite complicated baby and then commented:
I can see now why mothers cover a baby's head on a cold day. There is lots of area there for
heat loss.
4. Using real data

To refine the model further, one school considered each model to be a sphere connected to
cylinders and then collected real data. The 'real' measures needed for both adult and baby are:

cylinder

Then the following formulas can be applied:

Sphere: V = 4/3 r S.A. = 4 r
Cylinder: V = rh S.A. = 2 rh + 2 r

Page 35 of 37

Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

S00099220 2013

I think this was the first time I realised the importance of maths in context. As we curved
paper to make cylinders and discussed how to work out their volume, the introduction of the
formulas made much more sense to the kids.
Another school set the following as a homework research project.
Collecting Real Data

Calculate your own personal surface area to volume ratio and compare
it to that of a small child, perhaps the baby of a relative or friend.
Prepare a report of your findings.
The following information may be helpful.
Surface Area of the Human Body can be calculated approximately with
any of these methods:

method:

One kilogram of body mass occupies about 0.9 litres of

volume.

We were able to collect a few other relevant facts as part of our discussion. Things like one
kilogram of water is one litre of volume and humans are composed of about 84% water. That
added some meaning to the 0.9 rule.
It's funny how projects like this actually help you to notice things you have seen many times.
As a result of their investigations, my students realised that baby heads are proportionally
larger than adult heads. Then one of the kids brought along a cartoon from the paper which
showed a baby, and we realised that artists often make use of this fact.
One of our mums is a nurse and when she saw her child's assignment she informed us that the
'100 times' rule is used in burns units in hospitals to calculate the percentage of burnt skin.

Page 36 of 37

Unit Plan: Measurement &

Geometry
Using units of measurement,
Year 9

Trent Wardle

S00099220 2013

5. Finishing the problem: conclusion

Design a poster for display in local community areas such as infant welfare
centres.

Design a media campaign to alert parents to the danger of leaving babies

and toddlers in cars. This could involve making video, a slide show,