At some point in everyone’s life, they will probably decide to paint a room in their house or apartment and possibly want to put new flooring down in a room. This project allows students to gain experience in writing a proposal, drawing a floor plan, determining the surface area of the walls in a room that should be painted, determine the area of the floor in a room, and determine the cost to buy the paint and carpet for the room selected. Tennessee State Standards: G.GMD.A.2 Know and use volume and surface area formulas for cylinders, cones, prisms, pyramids, and spheres to solve problems.
During a class period prior to assigning the project, I divide students into groups of four and have each group measure a different aspect of my classroom. Then they work together and compute the surface area of the walls in my classroom and the area of the floor in the classroom. I give them a preset amount to use for the cost of paint and the cost of the carpet. Each group computes the classroom area and cost calculations. Then we review the classroom measurements that each group came up with. This gives them a basis for the project, shows them how to measure, how to determine the area and how to determine the cost to take on such a task. I included a copy of the worksheet I used in class. You can modify it to fit your own classroom. It takes about one more day to review the rubric with students and how to find the ads. Then I give them about 2 weeks to complete the project, trying to address questions for about 5 minutes each day. The hard problem is actually getting them started.
This is a project that I created for my Honors Geometry classes which are majority 9th graders. However, it could easily be used at any grade level that teaches area. My students attend a public optional (magnet) high school in Memphis Tennessee.
I ask that they put the project together in a certain order, but I am flexible about how to record the information on each page. I found over time that it was best to not accept internet ads. There were too many bogus ads when I accepted a printout from the internet so I stopped allowing internet ads. I save newspapers over many weeks prior to the project and bring newspapers from home for students to go through so they can't use the excuse "we don't get the newspaper so I can't do the project." Sometimes I have gone to big box stores on Saturday (right before the previous week's ads expire) and snatch the available papers to bring into school for students to use. I go into great detail on the project sheet but this is so students know exactly what I expect. The download is the actual rubric/project sheet that I give to students as well as an example of a former students’ project.
The most amazing comments show up in the project summary. One of my favorites is when a 9th grader says to me "I never knew how to find sales tax before now, thank you for showing me how to find sales tax on something that I buy at a store." Also, I offer extra credit for parent comments, this is to get parents to see what their child is doing in school and hopefully they will check over the project for mistakes. I get some of the neatest comments from parents. I would say that in a normal year, about 10% of my students actually get to paint their room using the numbers that they found.