In Topic A, students begin to conceptualize area as the amount of two-dimensional surface that is contained within a plane figure. They come to understand that the space can be tiled with unit squares without gaps or overlaps (3.MD.5). They make predictions and explore which rectangles cover the most area when the side lengths differ (but area is actually the same). Students may, for example, cut and fold rectangles to confirm predictions about whether a 1 by 12 rectangle covers more area than a 3 by 4 or a 2 by 6 rectangle. They reinforce their ideas by using inch and centimeter square manipulatives to tile the same rectangles and prove the areas are equal. Topic A provides students’ first experience with tiling, from which they learn to distinguish between length and area by placing a ruler with the same size units (inches or centimeters) next to a tiled array to discover that the number of tiles along a side corresponds to the length of the side (3.MD.6).
Grade 3 Mathematics Module 4, Topic A, Overview
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