A task which depends on members of the group noticing the needs of
others and responding.
Make an eight by eight square, the layout is the same as a
chessboard. You can print out and use the square below. What is the
area of the square? Divide the square in the way shown by the red
dashed. . . .
Do you know how to find the area of a triangle? You can count the
squares. What happens if we turn the triangle on end? Press the
button and see. Try counting the number of units in the triangle
now. . . .
You can move the 4 pieces of the jigsaw and fit them into both
outlines. Explain what has happened to the missing one unit of
What happens to the area of a square if you double the length of
the sides? Try the same thing with rectangles, diamonds and other
shapes. How do the four smaller ones fit into the larger one?
Is it possible to remove ten unit cubes from a 3 by 3 by 3 cube made from 27 unit cubes so that the surface area of the remaining solid is the same as the surface area of the original 3 by 3 by 3. . . .
What shape has Harry drawn on this clock face? Can you find its
area? What is the largest number of square tiles that could cover
Points P, Q, R and S each divide the sides AB, BC, CD and DA respectively in the ratio of 2 : 1. Join the points. What is the area of the parallelogram PQRS in relation to the original rectangle?
This rectangle is cut into five pieces which fit exactly into a triangular outline and also into a square outline where the triangle, the rectangle and the square have equal areas.
What is the total area of the four outside triangles which are
outlined in red in this arrangement of squares inside each other?
It is possible to dissect any square into smaller squares. What is
the minimum number of squares a 13 by 13 square can be dissected
Seven small rectangular pictures have one inch wide frames. The
frames are removed and the pictures are fitted together like a
jigsaw to make a rectangle of length 12 inches. Find the dimensions
of. . . .
Can you maximise the area available to a grazing goat?
A simple visual exploration into halving and doubling.
What happens to the area and volume of 2D and 3D shapes when you
Choose a box and work out the smallest rectangle of paper needed to
wrap it so that it is completely covered.
Explore this interactivity and see if you can work out what it
does. Could you use it to estimate the area of a shape?
A follow-up activity to Tiles in the Garden.
What is the largest number of circles we can fit into the frame
without them overlapping? How do you know? What will happen if you
try the other shapes?
How can you change the area of a shape but keep its perimeter the same? How can you change the perimeter but keep the area the same?
A tower of squares is built inside a right angled isosceles
triangle. The largest square stands on the hypotenuse. What
fraction of the area of the triangle is covered by the series of
Read about David Hilbert who proved that any polygon could be cut up into a certain number of pieces that could be put back together to form any other polygon of equal area.
This article, written for teachers, discusses the merits of
different kinds of resources: those which involve exploration and
those which centre on calculation.
Prove that a triangle with sides of length 5, 5 and 6 has the same area as a triangle with sides of length 5, 5 and 8. Find other pairs of non-congruent isosceles triangles which have equal areas.
How would you move the bands on the pegboard to alter these shapes?
Look at the mathematics that is all around us - this circular
window is a wonderful example.
Polygons drawn on square dotty paper have dots on their perimeter
(p) and often internal (i) ones as well. Find a relationship
between p, i and the area of the polygons.
This article for teachers gives some food for thought when teaching
ideas about area.
Have a good look at these images. Can you describe what is
happening? There are plenty more images like this on NRICH's
Exploring Squares CD.
An activity for high-attaining learners which involves making a new cylinder from a cardboard tube.
It's easy to work out the areas of most squares that we meet, but
what if they were tilted?
What do these two triangles have in common? How are they related?
Use the interactivity to find all the different right-angled
triangles you can make by just moving one corner of the starting
Grandpa was measuring a rug using yards, feet and inches. Can you
help William to work out its area?
Can you find the area of a parallelogram defined by two vectors?
Follow the instructions and you can take a rectangle, cut it into 4 pieces, discard two small triangles, put together the remaining two pieces and end up with a rectangle the same size. Try it!
The area of a square inscribed in a circle with a unit radius is,
satisfyingly, 2. What is the area of a regular hexagon inscribed in
a circle with a unit radius?
Draw some isosceles triangles with an area of $9$cm$^2$ and a vertex at (20,20). If all the vertices must have whole number coordinates, how many is it possible to draw?
I'm thinking of a rectangle with an area of 24. What could its perimeter be?
Semicircles are drawn on the sides of a rectangle ABCD. A circle passing through points ABCD carves out four crescent-shaped regions. Prove that the sum of the areas of the four crescents is equal to. . . .
You have a 12 by 9 foot carpet with an 8 by 1 foot hole exactly in
the middle. Cut the carpet into two pieces to make a 10 by 10 foot
Explore one of these five pictures.
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
At the corner of the cube circular arcs are drawn and the area enclosed shaded. What fraction of the surface area of the cube is shaded? Try working out the answer without recourse to pencil and. . . .
Which is a better fit, a square peg in a round hole or a round peg
in a square hole?
Can you work out the area of the inner square and give an
explanation of how you did it?
Determine the total shaded area of the 'kissing triangles'.
Bluey-green, white and transparent squares with a few odd bits of
shapes around the perimeter. But, how many squares are there of
each type in the complete circle? Study the picture and make. . . .
Derive a formula for finding the area of any kite.
How have "Warmsnug" arrived at the prices shown on their windows? Which window has been given an incorrect price?