Area and Perimeter Essay

3395 Words Feb 9th, 2013 14 Pages
Research for Educational Reform


Area and Perimeter: "Which is Which and How Do We Know?" Helene Sherman Tammy Randolph

University of Missouri - St. Louis Fourth grade students participated in three hands-on lessons designed to foster conceptual understanding of area and perimeter, to able to measure them in units and to be able to distinguish them from each other within the same figure. Students worked with a university faculty member and classroom teacher to construct shapes on geoboards, transfer the shapes to dot paper and count units in and around each shape. Students' misconceptions and lack of direct experience were evident in answers on the pretest; conceptual development was improved as evidenced on answers to post test
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instruction began. The questions were both conceptual and procedural in nature and are found in Table 1, as are sample answers.
Tablet: Pre-assessment 1. What does perimeter mean? Sample answers: It means length something; It means to touch something; it is a math word. 2. How do you measure perimeter? Sample answers: You need to find a big string; you can't measure it; you add something; you multiply something. 3. Where is perimeter found in the real world? Sample answers: It's really not in the real world, just in the books; it's found on the map; it's my fence. 4. What does area mean? Sample answers: The subjects we learn; something in the geometry chapter; the space around a square; the space in a line. 5. How do you measure area? Sample answers: With a ruler; there is a formula; we haven't learned that yet; with your hand. 6. Where do you find area? Sample answers: In the book; in a story; in a spelling list; in a house. 7. Why do you need to know about area and perimeter? Sample answers; for the test; for next year; the teacher says we have to; to measure stuff.

hi assessing the results of the pretest, the teachers discovered that many students often confused their understanding of area with that of perimeter. Although many students could recite formulas, particularly for finding the measure of area, the learners were unable to

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