We arrived back at school this fall to see renovated spaces all around. Classrooms were redesigned, walls were moved, and furniture was purchased. The walls of the 4th floor hallway were lined with yard upon yard of cork board bulletin board. What a perfect context for investigating area and perimeter. My students were genuinely puzzled about what we should do to brighten up the brown hallways. We needed bulletin board paper, fabric, ribbon, borders . . . something to bring color to the hallway. Since this would be a collaborative decorating endeavor, among all the teachers on the floor, why not collect some data to share with our division principal? If we were to cover the boards with paper or fabric, how much would we need? And how much border or ribbon would we need? We lettered the boards for reference, and set to work.
My colleague Renee found a great new math tool that supported our measurement work. This tape is printed with foot long rulers and is easily perforated at the foot mark. We used this, along with tradition tape measures, to begin collecting data.