Understanding Perimeter with Spaghetti and Meatballs for All!

Lesson Overview

Read the book, Spaghetti and Meatballs for All! (Marilyn Burns Brainy Day Books), by Marilyn Burns.

Discuss how the amount of space you have around a table is the perimeter. It’s the length of the distance around the table. When you push the tables together, the tables took up the same amount of space (area) but the space around the table got smaller.

1 “Cut out squares of cardboard or use small square tiles so that children can construct the different ways the guests in the story arranged the tables. Help children experiment so they can see that Mrs. Comfort ordered the fewest tables possible. You may want to have them reconstruct some [alternate arrangements].”

2 “If children are interested, go through the book again and help them draw a picture of each new table rearrangement and figure out how many people could be seated at each. Use the words area and perimeter to talk about the size of each arrangement and the number of people it seats.”

3. “Use the cardboard squares, tiles, or drawings to investigate the following problem: Suppose their were going to be just 12 people at the family reunion. What different table arrangements are possible? Which arrangement would use the fewest tables? Which arrangement would use the most tables? (For additional challenges, try the same problem for 16, 24, 36, or any other number of people.)”

— Ideas from notes at the back of the book

Lesson Goals:

  • Students can measure the perimeter of table arrangements
  • Students can determine the fewest number of tables they would need to seat their entire class.

Lesson Plan Materials

See this idea and more ideas in detail in McKinney and Hinton 2010 p. 22.

Common Core State Standards this Lesson Supports

  • CCSS.Math.Content.K.CC.A.1 Count to 100 by ones and by tens.
  • CCSS.Math.Content.K.OA.A.2 Solve addition and subtraction word problems, and add and subtract within 10, e.g., by using objects or drawings to represent the problem.
  • CCSS.Math.Content.1.OA.C.5 Relate counting to addition and subtraction (e.g., by counting on 2 to add 2).

AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner

  • AASL 2.1.3 Use strategies to draw conclusions from information and apply knowledge to curricular areas, real-world situations, and further investigations.

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