The Secret to All Areas

This ties into and builds upon what we learned in our last unit on measurement.

Just click on the link below to get to the interesting part that relates all areas to those of rectangles!

Thank you Ms. Griffiths for passing this along!

Math with Bad Drawings

(Except Area 51, which I Am Not Authorized to Divulge)

or, The World Through Rectangular Glasses

Now that I’m teaching middle school, I find myself wrestling with the sheer number of area formulas that my students need to know (or at least be passingly familiar with). Rectangles, triangles, parallelograms, trapezia…


The logic is this: A handful of geometric figures keep recurring throughout our world. Once you know how to spot them, they’re everywhere, like the Wilhelm Scream. It’s useful to determine the sizes of these shapes effortlessly, via formulas.

That’s all true, so far as it goes. But reducing geometry to formulas alone can lead to tragic misunderstandings, like when a student asked a friend of mine: “Is there a simple way to remember the difference between volume and surface area?” That’s like asking for a simple way to remember the difference between oceans and deserts: You can only confuse them if you have deep misconceptions…

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One Response to The Secret to All Areas

  1. John Li (James' dad) says:

    This is great “quick reference”. Thank you Miss Burghall.

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