Perimeter and Area of Mommy’s Necklace

Written as part of the Count 10, Read 10 series.

I noticed Daughter attempting to bejewel Husband with a strand of my faux pearls the other day. I watched, enthralled with the math learning taking place.

She held the necklace in her hands – one on each side. Just about equal. So the space available for Husband’s head was almost non-existant. Like this:

If she were to hold the necklace at two points that were closer together, she would create a “dip” in the necklace where his head could fit. Like this:

There’s an extended learning opportunity here!

This made me think of all the nifty things you can show about the relationship of perimeter to area and how you can have the same perimeter but change the area to all sorts of sizes.

If you aren’t wearing a necklace, find some mardi-gras beads. Daughter has many strands, so I’m guessing your house might be littered with them as well. If not, join the club. Go buy some.

Play with them in the bathtub or right before bed. (Make sure they give them up before going to sleep, though – it’s a strangulation hazard!)

Move the necklace around on a flat surface (or on the bed) and let your child experiment with the ways the area changes. Ask questions like:

  • How much “stuff” can you fit inside the shape? (If there are blocks or other toys to act as “stuff,” use them.)
  • How much “stuff” can you fit inside the shape after you move it around?
  • Is that more or less “stuff” than you could fit inside it before?
  • Did the distance around the necklace change? (You can introduce the words perimeter and circumference.)
  • Can you make it into a square? A triangle?

Be careful how much you do.

Don’t forget, activities like this should be fun. For your child as well as you. So don’t get too in depth talking the math talk if it feels weird. Go with the flow.

And let me know how that flow goes, would you? Shoot me a line personally or share your thoughts with everyone in the comment.

This is also part of the Works For Me Wednesday circle.

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