Designing with Area and Perimeter

This week in math it was all about area and perimeter. After reviewing the basics of how to find the area and perimeter of rectangles and squares, we applied that knowledge to Iditarod based real world situations.

Since we have drafted our dogs and chosen our musher, the next thing any good Iditarod bound musher would do is search for sponsors. Lucky for us, a fencing company decided to “sponsor” our teams. We imagined that they provided us with one hundred feet of fencing per dog. We pretended that with that much fencing we would create runs for each of our dogs to advertise for our sponsors and care for our dogs at the same time!  It was a win-win solution!

The first challenge was to explore all of the different ways we could use the fencing to create individual dog runs. We quickly realized that even though the perimeter was the same 100 feet for each design, the area could change dramatically depending on how the space was laid out.  The boys decided that a pen with the largest area would be best for the dogs and that the  way to make a fence with the largest area was to make a square pen that is 25 feet on each side.

The next challenge was to explore ways to set up the dog yard with the individual dog runs in a pattern that used the least amount of fencing possible. The boys realized that they could connect fences together to save materials which led to several interesting observations and discussions about the common sense ramifications of doing so. You needed to make sure you, as the musher, had access to all of the pens so you could feed and water the dogs! The boys picked their best layout, and then calculated the total amount of fencing they would need to build their design.

At this point in the lesson, the boys came up with a brilliant suggestion that will now be written into the lesson plan for all future classes! What would we do with all the fencing material we saved by making the pens adjacent to each other? Most of them decided to build a puppy pen or two like they had seen at Ken Anderson’s kennel when we chatted with him online! So they calculated how much fencing they had left and designed a puppy pen or two with the left over fencing.  Once that was added to their design, they had successfully designed their own dog yard!

A second area and perimeter design challenge had them designing a floor plan for a check point. They had several required elements that would be found at a checkpoint:  spaces for vet checks, dropped dogs, food tables, musher resting areas, and volunteer spaces.  They had to layout the floor plan in a logical manner, sketch it to scale, and find the area and perimeter of each individual element. It was a challenge, but the boys really rose to the occasion!

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