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ERIC Number: EJ1001734
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-May
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1073-5836
A Little Area Challenge: A Sod Story
Myers, Perla L.; Pelak, Colleen N.
Teaching Children Mathematics, v18 n9 p550-557 May 2012
As partners in a professional development project, the authors jumped at the opportunity to use a real-life problem to engage elementary and middle school teachers in a one-day exploration of the concept of area. "Length times width"--a common response to the question, "What is area?"--is a rote formulaic expression that applies only to certain shapes. The authors thought that an irregularly shaped lawn would encourage prospective teachers to consider their definition of area. Their professional development workshop was designed to help teachers excavate the concept of area, uncover misconceptions, and cultivate understanding. Seeing pictures of the missing sod intrigued the teachers. The authors challenged them to work as "contractors," in groups, to accurately estimate the area of this irregular yard. They encouraged them to use a diagram of the irregularly shaped property, materials of their choice (graph paper, rulers, string, transparencies, etc.), and more than one strategy to solve the problem. Facilitators questioned the teachers about the reasonableness and accuracy of their answers and the motivation, justification, and efficiency of their methods. Subsequently, the teachers came together to share solutions and build connections among the multiple strategies. (Contains 5 figures.)
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; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A