Here is how I teach Area to my kindergartners--lots of hands-on exploration and discussion, of course!

All of the blackline masters I use are available to download free here:

Download Measurement Unit_Area

*In Texas, kindergartners are only expected to compare 2 flat surfaces and tell which is bigger and which is smaller. Which is either way too easy...*

Or way too hard! If you have one area that is longer on one side, but shorter on another, it is difficult to compare their areas based on observation alone.

So using some kind of non-standard unit to actually measure the areas is a natural extension.

K.10) Measurement. The student directly compares the attributes of length, area,

weight/mass, capacity, and/or relative temperature. The student uses comparative

language to solve problems and answer questions. The student is expected to:

(B) compare the areas of two flat surfaces of two-dimensional figures (covers more, covers less, or covers the same).

- K.MD.1. Describe measurable attributes of objects, such as length or weight. Describe several measurable attributes of a single object.
- K.MD.2. Directly compare two objects with a measurable attribute in common, to see which object has “more of”/“less of” the attribute, and describe the difference.
*For example, directly compare the heights of two children and describe one child as taller/shorter.*

Day 1

### To introduce area, I present a simple problem to the kids...

Make sure to choose sticky notes that are easily comparable (fit completely inside each other). Have the kids discuss--which sticky note would be best for writing a long note, and why? When they answer that one note is "bigger," press them for more...Bigger how? Is it longer? Is it taller? Keep pressing them until you get someone to say something close to "The inside part of this note is bigger, or has more room than this one." Let them demonstrate by actually placing one note on top of the other. Then introduce the word **area** and explain that it is the space inside a region.

Now let the kids do some exploration on their own:

* *Have the kids physically compare the books to determine which have a bigger/smaller area than their math notebooks.

Day 2

Have the kids look at the pictures of the windows below. Ask them which window has the bigger surface area? How can you be sure?

Have the kids cut out and physically compare the windows.

Is Emma's window bigger? It definitely looks taller...

But wait...this way, Andrew's window looks taller. So which is it? Ask the kids if they can think of a way to find out for sure. Someone will probably suggest measuring it. But how? Measure what? Measure how long a side is? Measure it "this way"? Or "that way"? Remind them that if they really want to know who has the bigger window, they need to figure out which window has the bigger ** area** (the inside part).

Then ask the kids what math tools they could use to measure the area. Don't be afraid to let them experiment. If someone chooses round counters, and there is space left over, discuss whether or not that is the best option.

I made these windows to be measured with 1" square color tiles, but any tool will work, as long as you use the same tool to measure both windows (discuss ** that** with the kids!)

Here I've measured with 1" paper squares. It takes 12 tiles to cover Andrew's window * and*...

It takes 12 tiles to cover Emma's window, as well! They are the same size! The kids love it when they figure this out!

* *So now it's time for a discussion. How can they be the same size when they are not the same shape? This is a very hard concept for primary learners to grasp--"rearranging areas into different shapes does not affect the amount of area." (Van de Walle, Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics K-3)

* *

* *

And it's not a concept that they are going to grasp after one lesson. But, once again, we are providing the kids with concrete, hands-on experiences to build their schema.

Day 3

Allow the kids to do some more hands-on exploration today. Have them choose different objects from around the room and measure their areas with different non-standard units. I like to have them estimate how many units it will take to cover their objects first.

Good things to measure...anything flat! Games, books, puzzles, journals, notebooks, rugs, mats, etc.

Good things to measure with...tiles, cubes, playing, cards, dominoes and sticky notes (make sure you re-use the sticky notes--they aren't cheap!).

Good questions to ask while the kids are working:

- Which is a better choice to measure a game--these little tiles or the bigger sticky notes? Why?
- If you run out of dominoes, can you finish measuring with tiles? Why or why not?
- If Alex measured his book with cards and Drew measured his with sticky notes, can you compare the measurements? Why or why not?

Day 4

More hands-on exploration!

Here's a chance to practice measuring "those hard-to-compare" objects. I encourage the kids to choose 2 objects that you cannot just stack on top of each other to compare their sizes. They love the challenge!

I also make them predict which has the larger surface area before they measure. It makes them start really thinking about how long or short or fat or skinny objects are--and how that affects their area.

Day 5

Here's a problem that challenges children to apply what they've learned through their hands-on exploration. Here's the catch--I do not give them tiles! They have to figure out that there will be five tiles across and 4 down for the whole rectangle. Some kids will draw the tiles to fill it in, some will draw grid lines, some might even cut out little scraps of paper to fill it in. But do you see where this is going? It's a * very early* exploration of how height and width relate to total area!

Challenge Problem

Give the children 14 tiles (or paper squares). The grid paper is just to help the kids organize their arrangements. Tell the kids to make a shape. It will either be a square or a rectangle (an excellent opportunity to review the attributes of squares and rectangles).

It's not this one...

Or this one...

This one works!

But is it a square or a rectangle? (It's a rectangle because 2 sides are long and 2 are short).

You can have your kids glue paper squares in their notebooks...

Or draw the shape on grid paper...

But the most important part, as always, is the discussion!

As an extension, I give the kids a predetermined number of tiles and see how many different shapes they can make. (Numbers with multiple factors work the best... like 12 and 24). Again, the kids start to understand that shapes can look different and still have the same area).

Warning: Teaching kids about measurement definitely exposes you to the *If You Give a Mouse a Cookie Syndrome .* Before you know it, you will probably be measuring your windows with sticky notes and your carpet with pieces of construction paper.

Have fun with that!

What great ideas. I plan to share this with my Kindergarten teachers next year. Thanks for sharing!

Posted by: Dorene Bates | 06/26/2012 at 02:07 PM

I love your ideas!! The reproducibles are a great resource as well, and the math notebooks look like such a great way for students to make connections! What else do you do with them, and is it a curriculum you follow? Thanks a bunch!

Posted by: Larena Kern | 06/26/2012 at 09:21 PM

WOW! I love your site! I found you on pinterest and have seriously spent over an hour just looking through all the things you have! Thank you SO much for sharing everything! I am going to be teaching K for the first time this year and your unit plans and templates are much appreciated!

Posted by: Emily | 06/27/2012 at 10:11 AM

I can't tell you how awesome I think your math problem solving journal has been. My kids and I explored it this year and now the other three kindergarten teachers want to jump into it too. Thanks again for sharing it with us!

Come by and check out my blog if you get a chance.

kindergartenwars.blogspot.com

Posted by: Elsbeth | 06/28/2012 at 02:56 PM

Thank you for sharing this unit!

I am THRILLED that you are blogging again!! You have been in my RSS feed since I began teaching kindergarten again in 2010. I hope you are having a fantastic summer!

Chrissy at ReadWriteSing

Posted by: Chrissy | 07/05/2012 at 07:33 PM

I'm not a kindergarten teacher but I would like to know where you purchased the owls that you're going to use for pencils. I hosting an owl themed baby shower and would love to purchase a couple as well. Funny though, I'm a secretary at an elementary school and I LoVE kindergarten!

Posted by: Debbie Carroll | 07/20/2012 at 04:39 PM

Great website..One can tell where your dedication flourishes. This is the American Spirit.

Posted by: online math tutor | 09/20/2012 at 09:55 PM

I love this! How can I find these pages pictured above to print and use in my classroom?

Posted by: Courtney | 01/12/2014 at 08:09 PM

I think your measurement unit is amazing! I've used the capacity and weight and am looking forward to using your area activities. I really appreciate your visuals and how you present your lessons as it is easy to follow. Thanks for sharing! You're an awesome teacher!

Posted by: Jeni-Lynn | 05/13/2014 at 06:03 PM

Thank you for the wonderful hands on activities for math. I am going to use them this year. Thank you for visuals.

Posted by: radha | 09/02/2014 at 10:32 PM

Thank you for the opportunity to experience with color tile activities. I am a student teacher and the measurement lesson was wonderful. Thanks again

Posted by: Shari Williams | 09/28/2014 at 10:58 PM

Thank-you for sharing your detailed lessons and resources! Really find them helpful and informative. Wondering if you could look at the Emma and Andrew's window paper. I printed it off and Emma's window is not quite 6 inches x 2 inches, so when the kids did it today, the one inch squares did not fit in evenly. Andrew's held 12, but Emma's came up short :( Thanks so much!

Posted by: Leeanne | 04/28/2016 at 10:19 PM

Wow

Posted by: Sadie koontse | 09/08/2016 at 10:14 PM