Introduction: Using Common Objects to Learn About Perimeter, Area, and Volume

Math is all around us and everyday objects provide an easy way to illustrate this. The uses are endless and whether you're deciding how much stuff will fit in your backpack, planning a garden, or filling a poster board with pictures, etc., figuring and estimating perimeter, area, and volume are invaluable skills.

Items needed:

Common objects

Ruler or tape measure

Container (to put items in for estimation)

Paper and pencils for calculation

Step 1: Choose Common Objects From Your Classroom/home

Items such as books, shelves, cans, toilet paper, blackboards, etc. Standard shapes are easier to calculate but even oblong or multi-shaped objects can be used, you will just want to divide the object into standard shapes when measuring and calculating then total up the pieces.

Step 2: Use Rulers or Tape Measures to Measure Items

Cloth tape measures may help with circular objects (and can even provide you the circumference) but a standard ruler will suffice, though you may need to get creative with your measuring.

Step 3: Provide a Formula Sheet for Calculation

A list of formulas for calculating the perimeter, area, and volume of various shapes will provide easy reference for students.

Step 4: Use Calculations for Comparison and Estimation

The calculations can have many applications and provide insight and perspective. Which shape of can or box holds more? Which holds more, a can or a box? How many items can you estimate will fit in a larger measured container? Some of the answers may surprise you!