Posted by: degarcia | April 13, 2009

Surface Area

Surface Area: In general, the surface area is the sum of all the areas of all the shapes that cover the surface of the object.

In order for students to understand surface area, they first need to understand concepts such as base, height, diameter, radius, pi, etc.

Surface area can be a challenging concept for students because of the different formulas that are used when dealing with different geometric shapes. -This is a link to a website that lists the formulas to find the surface area of specific shapes.


Here are the links to the Utah State Core Curriculum for teaching surface area. -5th grade core for surface area. It is found in Standard 4. -6th grade core for surface area. It is also found in Standard 4.

The standard from the NCTM for 5th grade is listed like this:

Geometry and Measurement and Algebra: Describing three-dimensional shapes and analyzing their properties, including volume and surface area.
Students relate two-dimensional shapes to three-dimensional shapes and analyze properties of polyhedral solids, describing them by the number of edges, faces, or vertices as well as the types of faces. Students recognize volume as an attribute of three-dimensional space. They understand that they can quantify volume by finding the total number of same-sized units of volume that they need to fill the space without gaps or overlaps. They understand that a cube that is 1 unit on an edge is the standard unit for measuring volume. They select appropriate units, strategies, and tools for solving problems that involve estimating or measuring volume. They decompose three-dimensional shapes and find surface areas and volumes of prisms. As they work with surface area, they find and justify relationships among the formulas for the areas of different polygons. They measure necessary attributes of shapes to use area formulas to solve problems. (

Lesson Plans-Here are some links to some websites that have great ideas for surface area lesson plans:

Activities-Here are some links to some websites that have great activities that can be used to teach surface area. The first two links are especially good ideas for teaching surface area of cylinders. –This link is a printable net of a cylinder that students can cut out and then fold in order to see how the different shapes make up a cylinder. -This is an idea of finding the surface area of spheres by using oranges. -This link is a worksheet that students can complete in the classroom. It has to do with finding the surface area of certain things in the classroom.



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