Image11.gif (2433 bytes)Where Will The Couch Fit?
By Jessica Nearings
University of Idaho


ITV Series: THE EDDIE FILES  #105 Sleep like a dog

In this unit students will explore area, how to calculate and the uses of the formula. They will use area to design a floor layout of furniture placement and of an apartment floorplan. Students will also learn about the careers that use area. The students will use area formulas to discover how much paint it will take to cover a room, and students will redesign their own room.  This lesson includes three separate activities to reinforce how area is used.

Learning Objectives

Students should be able to:

  • Name the area formula and describe how it works.
  • Use the area formula to calculate the surface area of various objects.
  • Use the area formula to design a floor plan of an apartment.
  • Use the area formula to find the are of the wall space of the classroom.


  • One piece of graph paper
  • Copy of handout
  • Furniture cutouts
  • Glue
  • Markers
  • Tape Measure for each group

Previewing Activities
  • Students are to trace their hands onto a piece of graph paper, then calculate the are of their hand.
  • The students will then share the area of their hand with the rest of the class using the term "square unit." 
  • This activity is for the teacher to determine how much the students know about area and how thorough the beginning activity should be. With some classes it could serve as a wrap up activity and others may need a mini lesson on area and its components.
Focus for Viewing
  • The focus for viewing is a specific responsibility or assignment that the students are responsible for during and after the viewing to engage students' viewing attention.
  • Tell the students that they are going to be watching a video about a class learning about area. While watching the first segment they are to listen for two pieces of information:

1. What is a square unit?
2. What is the area formula?

Viewing Activities
  • START the Video at the beginning of the episode and PAUSE the Video after Miss Tollivar says  "length times width."   Tell the students they will be doing the same activity as the students in Miss Tollivar's class and in the next segment have students focus on the directions Miss Tollivar gives to her class.
  • RESUME the Video.  PAUSE the video when the class begins looking at the finished apartments. Supply the class with a floor plan (handout) and furniture cutouts. Have the students follow the directions from Miss Tollivar. When the students finish, each should share their apartment with the class, along with the area of their rooms.
  • During the next segment students should make a list of the careers that make use of area. RESUME the video.  PAUSE the video after Eddie says, "Hector was going to be a star," and the video fades. Have the class discuss all the ideas they found for careers that involve using area on the movie set.
  • During the next segment have students listen for what interior designers do and how they use area. RESUME the video.
    PAUSE the video after the interior designer finishes by saying, "If it works on paper, then it works in the room."
  • Discuss with the students the job of an interior designer and how they use area. RESUME the video. STOP the video at the end of the episode.    


Post Viewing Activities

How much paint will it take? 

Divide the students into cooperative groups. Each group is to calculate how much paint it will take to cover the classroom. They need to take into account the area of the chalkboards, cupboards, sink areas, doorways, etc.(the paint will not cover these) while finding their figures. Each group's final figures should be given in square feet or meters.


Design a "movie set' for a class play, assigning each person a task. Act out the play as a class.

E-mail professionals/companies and let them know of your project. Ask them to give you information on how they use area. Make a class bulletin board of the results.

Have the students make a floor plan of their bedroom for homework. Each plan needs to have all the furniture drawn on it as it is. In class, the students then make each piece of their furniture a cutout and rearrange their room on a new floor plan with these cutouts. Post the before and after floor plans on a classroom bulletin board.

Take a walk around the school campus and have the students measure the area of various objects. The students will then report their findings to the class.

For additional lesson plans and ideas relating to this topic and many others try TeacherSource!   You will find activities, lesson plans, teacher guides and links to other great educational web sites!  Search the database by keyword, grade level or subject area! 

Mathline and Scienceline are also great resources for teachers seeking teaching tips, lesson plans, assessment methods, professional development, and much more!  Look for a localized version of Mathline and Scienceline on IdahoPTV next year!

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