Grade Levels: 6-8

*Click to open and customize your own copy of the Surface Area Lesson Plan.

This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic Surface Area, and supports the standard of solving real-life and mathematical problems involving area and surface area. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of creative projects.

Step 1: ACTIVATE PRIOR KNOWLEDGE

Display images of a rectangle and rectangular prism, like these:

 

 

 

 

 

Ask students: 

  • What is a 2-dimensional shape? How does it compare to a 3-dimensional shape?
  • Do you notice any 2-dimensional shapes within the 3-dimensional object? Explain.
  • Recall the area formulas. How do you find the area of a rectangle?

Step 2: BUILD BACKGROUND

  • Read aloud the description on the Surface Area topic page.
  • Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding.
  • Have students read one of the following Related Reading articles: “In Practice” or “In Depth”. Partner them with someone who read a different article to share what they learned with each other.

Step 3: APPLY
Students synthesize their ideas and express them through one or more of the following creative projects. They can work individually or collaborate.  

  • Make-a-Movie: Imagine you work at a gift wrap store. Create a mini-tutorial explaining how to wrap presents of different shapes.
  • Make-a-Map: Make a concept map comparing and contrasting surface area and volume.
  • Creative Coding: Code a math problem that uses surface area.

Step 4: REFLECT & ASSESS 

Reflect: After sharing creative projects with each other, students reflect on what they’ve learned about surface area. Prompt them by asking questions such as: 

  • What is an example of a 3-dimensional object in your classroom? How would you find its surface area?
  • How do you create a net? How is it helpful for finding surface area?
  • How is finding the surface area of a prism different from finding the surface area of a cylinder?

Assess: Wrap up the lesson with the Surface Area Quiz

Step 5: Extend Learning

Play a learning game to apply knowledge of surface area:

  • Area Builder: Build shapes to explore the area and perimeter of irregular figures.

Continue to build understanding around geometry concepts with BrainPOP’s Geometry and Measurement topics, games, and teacher resources. 

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