Spatializing Area (Part 3 of 3)

Early Years/Primary
Age 3-9


Kindergarten: Demonstrating Literacy and Mathematics Behaviour ​

  • Measure, using non-standard units of the same size, and compare objects, materials, and spaces in terms of their length, mass, capacity, area, and temperature, and explore ways of measuring the passage of time, through inquiry and play-based learning (#19).​

Primary: Measurement​

  • Estimate, measure, and record length, perimeter, area, mass, capacity, time, and temperature, using standard units.​


  • Students are sitting in a circle on the carpet.
  • Students should have completed “Spatializing Area Part 1 and 2“.


  • Pre-made shapes (Appendix C – download)​
  • 2” x 2” square tiles – enough for each student to have at least 12

Lesson: Part 2 of 3

  • Hand out pre-made shapes to students (see Appendix C – download).  ​
  • Each student will have a different sized shape, but the same area as one other peer. For example, two students will have a shape of 5 square units. Shapes vary in their level of difficulty to adapt to students’ learning abilities.​
  • Ask students to look around at all the different shapes. ​
  • Ask students to see whether they can find the shape with the largest area. What about the shape with the smallest area?​
  • After students have responded, hold up the square unit tile and ask them to estimate how many squares it will take to cover their shape.​
  • Then, hand out a one square unit tile to each student and see whether having the tile in hand helps or changes their estimates. ​
  • Ask students how many more tiles they will need to cover their entire shape and hand them that number of tiles. ​
  • Students will come to recognize whether their estimates were accurate or not and may need to request the addition or removal of tiles.​
  • Once students’ shapes are all covered (no gaps, no overlaps), tell students: Some of your shapes need the same number of tiles to cover them. Who thinks they have the smallest shape – the shape that needs the fewest number of squares?
  • Gather the two shapes composed of 5 units (‘L’ and ‘V’ shapes) and place them directly beside each other in centre of the circle for comparison. ​
  • Ask students: Is there any way to turn this shape (point to ‘L’) into this shape (pointing to ‘V’). Can somebody do it by only moving one square tile?
  • Repeat the above process for the remaining pairs, starting with 7-tile shapes and ending with the 12 tile shapes.​

Look Fors

  • Can the students accurately predict which shapes have the smallest/largest area?​
  • How easily can children move one piece from one shape to make it look like another shape?​
  • Can students accurately predict how many squares will fill the shapes?​
  • How do children justify their answers?​


  • Click here to download all three parts of the Spatializing Area lesson. 

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