2.10 General contractors: Working with area
This activity combines math, art, and writing, as students design a floor plan for a house and use calculations of area to arrive at a cost estimate. Following the activity, students reflect on the experience by answering questions about the skills and requirements of contractors. You may choose to do this activity after the end-of-grade tests as an enrichment activity when you can devote more time, energy, and effort.
- Students will calculate the area of two-dimensional figures.
- Students will understand how general contractors use math in their careers.
- Student handouts:
- Example of a computer-generated floor plan
- General contractor scenario and guidelines
- Student reflection paper
- Graph paper
Time required for lesson
Approximately 2 class periods and homework time both nights
- Conduct a class discussion about different careers in which a person might need to calculate area.
- Brainstorm the square footage of certain spaces: the classroom, an average-size apartment (about 1000-1200 square feet), a moderate-size home (1800-2400 square feet), etc. Then measure your classroom. Encourage your students to discuss room/house/lot sizes with their parents or guardians.
- Pass out the student handouts and graph paper, and explain the assignment scenario to the students: Students will work as general contractors for a local company that builds homes. The company’s rate for construction is $100 per square foot. Each student must draw the plans for a home that is approximately 2,000 square feet.
- Have the students design a home using the requirements from the student rubric/guidelines and then complete the reflection paper.
Optional resources for more information on the topics covered in this lesson
- Math in Daily Life: Home Decorating
- This website explains how area is important in home decorating and gives floor plan examples using squares, rectangles, and circles.
- Construction Laborers: Math They Use
- This website lists all the math topics used by construction laborers and links to the Bureau of Labor Statistics job profile.
- Construction Managers: Math They Use
- This website lists all the math topics used by construction managers and links to the Bureau of Labor Statistics job profile.
- Maintenance, Construction, and Remodel Converters and Calculators
- This website hosts dozens of construction-based calculators, conversion charts, and converter programs that can help students design their floor plan.
North Carolina curriculum alignment
- Goal 2: Measurement - The learner will select and use appropriate tools to measure two- and three-dimensional figures.
- Objective 2.02: Solve problems involving perimeter/circumference and area of plane figures.
- Common Core State Standards
- Mathematics (2010)
- 6.G.1Find the area of right triangles, other triangles, special quadrilaterals, and polygons by composing into rectangles or decomposing into triangles and other shapes; apply these techniques in the context of solving real-world and mathematical problems.
- 7.G.1Solve problems involving scale drawings of geometric figures, including computing actual lengths and areas from a scale drawing and reproducing a scale drawing at a different scale.
- 7.G.6Solve real-world and mathematical problems involving area, volume and surface area of two- and three-dimensional objects composed of triangles, quadrilaterals, polygons, cubes, and right prisms.
- Mathematics (2010)
- Next: Science