Work Zone

Workers in hard hats dodging traffic cones and surveying the area. It looks like your typical construction zone. But, it was anything but ordinary at Bell Elementary as 4th graders turned their classrooms and hallway into a construction site for a unique math lesson. 
“They were having a hard time differentiating between area and perimeter, so I wanted to give them a more hands-on, real-world experience,” said Mrs. Kuratnick.
A boy lying on a hallway floor writing on a clipboard  A girl sitting on a floor with a clipboard
Mrs. Kuratnick, Mrs. Edwards and Mrs. Sellitto taped off parcels on the floor. They had their students put on their Home Depot aprons, pull out their tape measures and work together to start calculating the area and perimeter of the different plots.
“They know the squares on the floor in the classroom are one square foot, so they can just count those. It’s more difficult in the hallway, so they have to take out the tape measure. There’s differentiated instruction, it’s more beginning in the classroom and more advanced in the hallway,” said Mrs. Kuratnick.
“We’re learning about area and perimeter. Every time you measure, it has to be in whatever units squared,” said Claire Griffin, calculating the square footage of different plots. 
The change of scenery seemed to have its desired effect.
Three boys sitting on a hallway floor with clipboards 
“It’s sort of like an escape room like we did last year. But, this is pretty different. There’s team building, working together to figure out the area and the perimeter,” said 4th grader Sabian Honnick.
“It’s fun. There’s more activity, moving around and stuff,” said 4th grader Regan Pangburn.
“They had no idea. When they came in and saw their classroom set up with their clipboards and aprons, they were curious and excited to learn,” said Mrs. Kuratnick. 
So did the students learn how to calculate measurements well enough to tackle real construction jobs?
“As I’m walking around and checking their papers, maybe,” said Mrs. Kuratnick.
A woman and five 4th graders stand in orange aprons

Print This Article
View text-based website