Grade Levels: K-3

This page provides information to support educators and families in teaching K-3 students about area. It is designed to complement the Area topic page on BrainPOP Jr.

This movie will explore the concept of area, and explain how to calculate it by counting square units inside shapes as well as by multiplying length times width. Some children may not be familiar with multiplication yet, so we recommend stopping the movie where it is appropriate for the needs of your children or students.

Review with children that area is the measurement of the space inside of a shape. Some children get area confused with perimeter, which is the total distance around a shape. You may wish to explain the differences further if you encounter confusion. Why is knowing the area of something helpful? We calculate area to figure out the size of a room, how much carpet we need to cover a floor, or how much wallpaper, tile, or paint we need to cover a wall. Brainstorm other uses for area together.

Remind children that they can calculate the area of a shape by dividing it into equal squares and then counting the squares. Each of these squares is called a square unit. Draw different shapes on grid or graph paper and have children count the squares to calculate the area. Help them understand that each square in the graph paper represents one square unit, so area is described in square units. Then draw a shape on the graph paper that utilizes half squares and help children calculate the area. Remind them that two half-square units are equal to one square unit. Show them how to count the whole squares and then add the half-squares to the total.

Explain that to calculate area of a rectangle or square, you can multiply the length times the width instead of dividing the shape into equal squares and counting all the square units. Go through a few examples together. Model writing out number sentences using the multiplication symbol and be sure to write the units so children understand that area is not measured in inches, feet, centimeters, meters, etc. but rather in square inches, square feet, square centimeters, square meters, etc.

Help children understand that math plays a critical role in our lives. People used math to build our homes and schools and to manufacture everything from our pencils to our food. Help children apply mathematic principles and concepts in their everyday lives. Why might they need to calculate area?