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ERIC Number: EJ852274
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Aug
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1073-5836
Break the Area Boundaries: Reflect and Discuss
McDuffie, Amy Roth; Eve, Norma
Teaching Children Mathematics, v16 n1 p18-27 Aug 2009
Understanding the concept of area is a challenge for children. In the past, instruction about area often focused more on learning procedures for measuring rather than on learning underlying concepts. To develop conceptual understanding, primary students need experiences with (1) partitioning a region with a two-dimensional unit of measure; (2) iterating a unit to cover the region without space or overlap; (3) exploring conservation of area (i.e., the area stays the same even if a region is cut and rearranged into different shapes); and (4) structuring an array. With these challenges and concepts in mind, primary-grade teachers who participated on a professional learning team (PLT) designed and studied a lesson for second graders. Consistent with research on children's learning of area, the PLT members recognized from past experiences that building understanding of area is difficult for students, and they sought ways to improve their teaching and their students' learning of this concept. The team formed as part of a schoolwide, practice-based professional learning program. School-based collaborative teams provide a promising approach to improving teaching and learning. This team adapted approaches from lesson study to design, implement, analyze, and reflect on lessons. Although the process created more questions for the team, they recognized that their collaborative lesson-designing effort was more intentional and deliberate in ensuring that students hit specific learning targets than lessons any team member could have designed individually. Teachers later heard students refer to this lesson when they worked on problems involving area and equivalent relationships, indicating that the lesson had positive, lasting effects on students' understanding. Moreover, the PLT continued to collaborate on other lessons, finding that their work generated new perspectives on teaching and learning that informed their practices outside of math as well. (Contains 1 table and 1 figure.)
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1502. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-3702; Fax: 703-476-2970; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 2
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A