Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

In the BrainPOP ELL movie Area of Rectangles (L3U6L5), Ben and Moby want to install glow-in-the-dark wallpaper in their tree house. But they soon discover that putting up the wallpaper is trickier than they thought. Ben and Moby need to use geometry to calculate how much wallpaper they’ll need. In this lesson plan, adaptable for grades 3-8, students will sequence events from the movie, and review the academic vocabulary from the lesson, including idioms.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Predict the meaning of new vocabulary words and compare to the definitions provided in the movie.
  2. Apply idioms from the movie to new situations.
  3. Sequence the events of the movie using sentence strips.


Area, base, height, width, formula, equal, shape, rectangle, square, circle, triangle, estimate, measure, approximate, exact
Idiom, literal, figurative, predict, prediction


For Activity 1, Idiom Review, prepare and make copies of a three column chart, or have students copy it from the board. Make three columns with the following headings: Idiom / Situation from the Movie / Other Possible Situation. Create five rows, and write the following idioms in the Idiom column:
Give me a hand.
Don’t lose your head.
It’s a piece of cake.
Shake a leg.
It’s out of this world.

For Activity 2, How to Wallpaper a Tree House, make copies and cut out the following sentences for each pair of students. Note: the sentences are listed in the correct sequence. Make a copy for yourself, but remember to mix them up when preparing the students’ sets.

First, calculate the number of square units it takes to cover one wall.
Measure the width, or base of the rectangle.
Next, measure the height.
Then multiply the base times the height.
Add the measurements of the opposite wall, which is equal.
Now measure the wall with the window, including the window.
Find the area of the window.
Subtract the area of the window from the area of the whole wall.
Do the same thing for the wall with the door.
After you have all those measurements, you can cut all the wallpaper.
Finally, put up the wallpaper.

For Activity 3, Find the Shapes, make copies of the Find the Shapes Image.

For the Extension activity, Make a Prediction, write the following vocabulary words in the Word column of the Make a Prediction Graphic Organizer: estimate / area / formula / base. Then make copies for the class.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Idiom Review. Display or distribute the three column chart you created (see Preparation). Before viewing the movie, have students discuss what they think each idiom means (the figurative meanings). During the movie, have them discuss why Ben uses the idioms, and what he’s trying to express. After the movie, ask them to think of a different situation when they might use these idioms. They can record their ideas in their own copies of the chart.
  2. How to Wallpaper a Tree House. Distribute the How to Wallpaper a Tree House sentence strips (see Preparation) to partners. Challenge students to put the steps in sequence.
  3. Find the Shapes. This lesson includes the math vocabulary “rectangle” and “square.” To practice using these terms, and other shape words (“circle,” “triangle”), distribute copies of the Find the Shapes Image and have students identify the shapes in the picture. They can keep a list of the objects they find, sorted according to shape. You could also do this as a class contest to see who finds the most objects of each shape. To differentiate, students can circle or point to the shapes, while other students give an oral or written description. Alternatively, project the image and have students identify the shapes on the board.
  4. Connect the Words. Project the Flash Words feature showing the text side of the words. Have students do the Connect Two activity, using the sentence frame to connect vocabulary words in a way that makes sense to them. Alternatively, have partners do an Open Word Sort.


  • Make a Prediction. Distribute copies of the Make a Prediction Graphic Organizer with the four vocabulary words added to the Word column (estimate, area, formula, base). Have students complete the first column (What do you think it means?) from their prior knowledge of the words and the information they learned in the Vocabulary movie from Area of Rectangles (L3U6L5). Then have students complete the second column (definition from the movie) as they watch the movie.
  • Approximate or Exact? What’s the difference between estimating and measuring? Before watching the movie, ask students to think of situations when it’s ok to estimate, and when it’s important to measure exactly.
  • What is a Formula? The word formula has several meanings. For homework, have students look up the word in a dictionary or online. Tell them to choose any meaning of the word, other than the way it is used in the movie Area of Rectangles (L3U6L5). The next day, students share their definitions with the class. Encourage them to accompany their definitions with an illustration or other visual.


BrainPOP Movies
Area of Polygons

BrainPOP JR Movies

Square Off
Lure of the Labyrinth: Mine Shaft
Pyramid Panic