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Activity Info
Title: Area of a Garden
Learning Target: I can measure area by counting squares. I can explain that the area of a rectangular shape can be found by multiplying the side lengths.
Grade: 3
Math KCAS: 3.MD.6
Measure areas by counting unit squares (square cm, square m, square in, square ft, and improvised units).

Relate area to the operations of multiplication and addition. a. Find the area of a rectangle with whole-number side lengths by tiling it, and show that the area is the same as would be found by multiplying the side lengths. b. Multiply side lengths to find areas of rectangles with wholenumber side lengths in the context of solving real world and mathematical problems, and represent whole-number products as rectangular areas in mathematical reasoning. c. Use tiling to show in a concrete case that the area of a rectangle with whole-number side lengths a and b + c is the sum of a x b and a x c. Use area models to represent the distributive property in mathematical reasoning. d. Recognize area as additive. Find areas of rectilinear figures by decomposing them into non-overlapping rectangles and adding the areas of the non-overlapping parts, applying this technique to solve real world problems.

ELA KCAS: None provided.
Title: The Curious Garden
Author: Peter Brown
ISBN10: 0316015474
ISBN13: 978-031601547
Lexile Reading Level: 840L
Activity Descriptors
Formative Assessment Strategy:
  • Students will create their own “gardens” using graph paper. Students must identify the multiplication sentence that matches the array they have created. Students must also use the area to create different perimeters and solve for those perimeters.

  • Questions to ask students:

    • How did you find your side length?

    • Do you have any patterns in your design?

    • How do you know the total area of your “garden” is correct?

    • What if I added/took away “___” tiles on one side of your “garden?” How would that change the area?

    • Does everyone with the area “___” square units have the same length and width?

  • The Curious Garden

  • Tiles (1-inch squares)

  • 10 x 10 Square Graph paper

  • Colored pencils/markers/crayons
  • Optional: Document Camera
  • Optional: Projector
  • Student Chart Worksheet


  1. Brainstorm background knowledge about gardens. Record student thinking on chart paper, etc.

  2. Read The Curious Garden out loud to students.

  3. Discuss gardens with students. Ask students who has a garden at home (or a relative’s house), who has been to a garden, who would like to have a garden, etc. Ask students what they would include in their garden. Ask students how they would decide the size of their garden and the materials needed to create a garden.


  1. Allow students to create a rectangular array with square tiles. Ask students, “How many tiles did you use to create your array?”

  2. Create a class chart where students identify the side lengths they used to create their arrays and the total number of square tiles used.



Side Length

Side Length

Total Tiles Used



  1. Ask students if they notice any connections between the side lengths and total tiles used. Students may recognize the two sides can be multiplied to find the total number of tiles. Do NOT identify it as area yet.

  2. Allow students time to create more rectangular arrays, discovering the pattern of length x width=total area. Students should record their observations on their own charts.


  1. Introduce the term “area” and how to find area of a rectangular shape (length x width).

  2. Ask students where they may observe tiling or area of rectangular shapes in real-life (ex. tiling on the floor, kitchen, bathroom, etc.; laying carpet; gardens, etc.)

  3. Explain to students that they will now create their own “garden” using graph paper. Students can choose to make their “garden” as big or small as they want on the paper, but it must be rectangular.


  1. Allow students time to independently create their “gardens” and ask students to identify the total area using a multiplication sentence.
Variations, Connections, or Follow-up Suggestions
  • Allow students to explore the correlation between area and perimeter – identifying same area, different perimeters and same perimeter, different areas
  • Allow students time to explore rectilinear gardens
  • Allow students to create their own “city” with tall buildings and gardens. Use the windows to create arrays with the window panes.
  • 3.RL.3: Discuss character traits and how the boy in the story did something small, but it affected everyone around him

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