19 Creative Ways to Teach Area and Perimeter

From Perimeter People to Cheez-It squares … we’ve got you covered!

Area and Perimeter

Starting at around third grade, students make the transition from learning shape names to actually performing calculations with them. We’ve put together our favorite ways for teaching area and perimeter for all types of learners. Choose your favorites to implement in your classroom.

1. Make an area and perimeter anchor chart

Area and Perimeter

Start with an anchor chart! This clever option lays out the differences and similarities between area and perimeter measurements.

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2. Decorate your classroom

Many students have trouble remembering the difference between area and perimeter. But if they pass this display on their way out of the classroom each day, they will eventually get it!

Learn more: Math = Love

3. Snack while you learn

Area and Perimeter

Square snacks like Cheez-Its are perfect for a hands-on activity with area and perimeter. Starburst candies work as well too.

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4. Pull out the pattern blocks

This is a great way to introduce perimeter without introducing the actual formulas right away. Students can simply count the sides, which gets them ready for the next step.

Learn more: Ashleigh’s Education Journey

5. Read Spaghetti and Meatballs for All!

Area and Perimeter

In Spaghetti and Meatballs for All!, the Comfort family reunion gets more complicated as guests insist on rearranging the seating chart. Read the book, and have students draw and calculate the table formations as you go.

6. Draw a Perimeter Person

Area and Perimeter

Have students draw themselves on graph paper, then figure out the area and perimeter. So cute!

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7. Make a math mosaic

Projects like these put the “A” in STEAM! Have students use square sticky notes to make a self portrait mosaic, or any other theme you choose.  They can write in their calculations around the figure.

Learn more: I Want To Be A Super Teacher

8. Explore area and perimeter with LEGO bricks

Area and Perimeter

LEGOs are the perfect teaching tool for talking about area and perimeter. Plus, children love them!

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9. Sing a catchy song

This cool little tune will help students remember when and how to use area and perimeter calculations.

10. Write block letter names

Students love activities using their own names. Draw them using block letters, then calculate the perimeter and area. (Name too long? Try initials instead.)

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11. Use your floor tiles for area and perimeter

Area and Perimeter

Got square floor tiles? Use blue painter’s tape (it peels off easily, we promise) to make shapes and have your students calculate the areas.

Learn more: Being Ladylike

12. Bring out the pentominoes

If you’ve played Tetris, you’ll recognize pentomino blocks. They’re a great tool to have on hand for a variety of math activities, including perimeter and area.

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13. Grab your geoboards

Area and Perimeter

Geoboards are another terrific tool that belong in every elementary classroom. (Find more great ways to use them here.)

Learn more: Triumphant Learning

14. Use area and perimeter to furnish a room

Area and Perimeter

Students love to ask, “But when I will ever use this in real life?” Area and perimeter actually have a lot of real-life applications, like this project where students fill a room with furniture to see if they can make it all fit.

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15. Build a city

Area and Perimeter

One room isn’t enough? Build a city! This is a cool activity for students who are ready to move on to volume, too.

Learn more: Teach Beside Me

16. Send them on an area and perimeter scavenger hunt

Need a quick and easy activity? Hand out rulers to students and send them off to measure lengths and widths of items. At their seats they can then calculate the perimeter.

Learn more: Ashleigh’s Education Journey

17. Make a π plate

Working on the area of circles? Make these cute pi plates!

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18. Play ‘Conquer the Area’

Grab graph paper and a pair of dice, then play this classic game that’s all about perimeter and area.

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19. Remind them to use the formulas

Counting squares is a good way to understand the concept, but eventually, students need to learn the formulas. Grab the free printable cards at the link below to give them some practice.

Learn more: Math Coach’s Corner

Gearing up for Pi Day? Check out these 31 Mathtastic Pi Day Activities!

If your kids need to move while they learn, you’ll love these 22 Active Math Games and Activities.

19 Creative Ways to Teach Area and Perimeter

Posted by Jill Staake

Jill Staake is a writer living in Tampa, Florida. She's spent most of her life teaching in traditional classrooms and beyond, from 8th grade English to butterfly encounters, and believes learning is a life-long process.

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