Another topic teachers often ask me is how to teach perimeter of irregular shapes. Before we teach them this concept, they must understand what the perimeter is. I like to tell my students that the perimeter is defined as the distance around the boundary of a two-dimensional shape.
However, irregular shapes can be tricky because they do not have easily measurable sides or angles. Therefore, it is important to provide students with the tools and strategies to accurately and efficiently find the perimeter of irregular shapes.
In this blog post, we will discuss some tips and tricks for teaching students to find the perimeter of irregular shapes. If your students aren’t ready for perimeter of irregular shapes, check out my how to introduce perimeter and area post.
Identify the Sides and Measure their Lengths
The first step in how to teach perimeter of irregular shapes is to identify the sides of the shape and measure their lengths. This can be done by using a ruler or a measuring tape. It is important to emphasize to students that irregular shapes do not have equal sides or angles, meaning they need to measure each side separately.
Break the Irregular Shape into Smaller Shapes
Breaking the irregular shape into smaller shapes is another effective strategy for finding the perimeter. This can be done by identifying the different geometric shapes that make up the irregular shape, such as triangles, rectangles, or circles, and then calculating the perimeter of each shape separately. Once the perimeter of each shape is found, add them up to get the total perimeter of the irregular shape.
Teach Perimeter of Irregular Shapes with the Perimeter Formula
The perimeter formula is a mathematical formula used to find the perimeter of a shape. The perimeter formula is straightforward for regular shapes, such as squares, rectangles, and circles. However, when we teach perimeter of irregular shapes, we can’t just use the regular formula. We have to continue reminding students that they need to break the irregular shape into smaller shapes, like we talked about in tip #2.
Use Real Life Examples to Teach Perimeter of Irregular Shapes
One effective way to help students learn how to find the perimeter of irregular shapes is by using real-life examples. For instance, you can use a map of the school or the surrounding neighborhood to show students how to find the perimeter of irregular shapes. This will help students see the practical application of finding the perimeter of irregular shapes and make the concept more tangible and relevant to their lives.
Use Technology to Teach Perimeter of Irregular Shapes
Technology can also be useful in teaching students how to find the perimeter of irregular shapes. There are many online resources and apps available that can help students practice finding the perimeter of irregular shapes. These tools can provide immediate feedback and help students identify their mistakes, making learning and improving easier.
Use Visual Aids to Teach Perimeter of Irregular Shapes
Visual aids, such as diagrams, charts, and pictures, can also help teach students how to find the perimeter of irregular shapes. These aids can make the concept more concrete and easier to understand. For instance, you can draw a diagram of an irregular shape on the board and label the sides and angles to help students visualize the shape.
Use Cooperative Learning to Teach Perimeter of Irregular Shapes
Cooperative learning is a teaching strategy that involves students working in groups to achieve a common goal. This strategy can be particularly effective in teaching students how to find the perimeter of irregular shapes because it allows them to share their knowledge and work collaboratively to solve problems.
You can divide the class into small groups and give each group a different irregular shape to find the perimeter. This will encourage students to work together, share their ideas, and learn from each other. If you’re looking for more cooperative learning strategies (I took a whole 3 day PD over this!), check out this book on Amazon.
How to teach perimeter of irregular shapes can be challenging because it’s slightly different than teaching the perimeter of regular shapes and can be challenging for students to understand. However, by providing them with the necessary tools and strategies, we can make the learning process more engaging and effective.
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