Developing Area Formulas Using Physical Models

Ms. Scott's teaches an "early" algebra class at the high school level. This class is comprised mainly of tenth and eleventh graders who have been either unsuccessful at previous attempts at algebra, or have been on a somewhat slower track in mathematics most of their academic lives.

Ms. Scott's Biosketch: Rita Scott has been a middle and high school mathematics teacher for 26 years. She is currently teaching at Salinas High School in Salinas, CA.




Classroom Setting: Ms. Scott's class includes 25 students who are English Learners. 50% are Hispanic, 10% are Asian, and 33% Caucasian.

School Setting: Salinas High School enrolls approximately 2700 students of diverse ethnicity in grades 9-12. It is located in the Salinas Union High School District.

Lesson Plan Summary: Ms. Scott's lesson on problem solving involving circles utilizes a hands-on approach where students discover strategies to find the area of composite figures. Through the activity, students discover that the best way to find the area of "left over" is to subtract the outside from the inside.

Ms. Scott developed a physical lesson for her students titled "There's a Hole in My Paper!" The materials needed for this activity was a piece of paper, scissors, and one formula.

Watch how Ms. Scott scaffolds the instruction for her students by introducing a similar math problem that builds background knowledge for the perimeter and area CAHSEE problem.

Classroom Clip Reflection:

  • How does Ms. Scott scaffold instruction for her students?
  • What are the implications for your own work with students?