Photograph of jigsaw puzzle pieces.

CareerStart lessons: Grade seven

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

Learning outcomes

Students will learn how to measure the area of a rectangle, and will learn about some real-world applications of that skill.

Teacher preparation

Time required for lesson

Approximately 55 minutes. Some homework time may be needed.

Materials needed

  • Student handouts:
    • Blank graph paper
    • Interior design worksheet
  • Blank graph paper copied as a transparency
  • Overhead projector and pens
  • Computer with projector and internet access to access information about Interior Designers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook.
  • Optional: If you don’t have access to a computer and projector, you may print the information ahead of time and hand it out to students, or print a transparency copy.
  • Interior design worksheet answer key
  • Measuring tapes, yard sticks, and/or meter sticks
  • Measurement of classroom height (and any other measurements such as height of the windows, etc. that may cause students to be unsafe if they try to get the measurements). These may be estimated for this lesson.
  • Large sheets of paper numbered 1, 2, 3, 4 etc., posted on the walls of the classroom
  • Chart paper
  • Markers


  1. Ask students what measurement would be used to find out how much paint would cover a wall or how much carpet would cover a floor. (Lead students to the answer “area,” or length x width). Ask students what units of measurement area associated with area. (Answers may include feet, yards, and meters.) (5 minutes)
  2. Ask students to brainstorm various jobs that use the concept of area. (Answers may include carpenters, carpet layers, construction workers, and interior designers.) (5 minutes)
  3. Using the information from the Occupational Outlook Handbook, lead a class discussion about interior designers. Be sure to address ways in which interior designers would use area on a daily basis.
  4. Divide students into eight groups. Assign one classroom wall to each group. (If you have four walls in your classroom, you’ll assign two groups to each wall.) Tell students they will take on the role of interior designers who need to determine how much paint is needed to paint the walls of the classroom. You’ll need to provide the height of the wall to ensure that students don’t try to reach the ceiling. (30 min.)
  5. Have each group measure its assigned wall, and then draw a diagram of it on graph paper. Remind students to use a scale of one square foot for each square on the graph paper. (More than one sheet of graph paper may be needed for each wall.) Instruct students to include items on the wall such as doors, windows, whiteboards, bulletin boards, etc. in their diagrams.
  6. Independent Practice: Have students complete the questions on the interior design worksheet using the measurements of their assigned walls. (15 min. Students may complete unfinished worksheets as homework.) Students will need to get all measurements from their groups before attempting to complete the worksheet.

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Mathematics (2004)

Grade 7

  • Goal 1: Number and Operations - The learner will understand and compute with rational numbers.
    • Objective 1.02: Develop fluency in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of rational numbers.
      • Analyze computational strategies.
      • Describe the effect of operations on size.
      • Estimate the results of computations.
      • Judge the reasonableness of solutions.
  • Goal 5: Algebra - The learner will demonstrate an understanding of linear relations and fundamental algebraic concepts.
    • Objective 5.01: Identify, analyze, and create linear relations, sequences, and functions using symbols, graphs, tables, diagrams, and written descriptions.
    • Objective 5.03: Use and evaluate algebraic expressions, linear equations or inequalities to solve problems.
    • Objective 5.04: Develop fluency in the use of formulas to solve problems.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • Mathematics (2010)
      • Grade 7

        • Geometry
          • 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.