Session 4: Shape and space
Take a look at the picture below. In order to decorate the room, you would need know the length of skirting required (perimeter), how much carpet to order and how many tins of paint to buy (area). You would also need to use your rounding skills (as items such as paint and skirting must be bought in full units) and your addition and multiplication knowledge – to work out the cost!
This session of the course will draw upon the skills you learned in the ‘Working with numbers’ and ‘Units of measure’ sessions.
Throughout this session you will learn how to find the perimeter, area and volume of simple and more complex shapes – if you’ve ever decorated a room you will be familiar with these skills already. It’s important to be able to work out area and perimeter accurately to ensure you buy enough of each material (but not too much to avoid wastage).
Once your room is beautifully decorated, you’re going to need to plan the best layout for your furniture (and make sure it fits!). You may well use a scale drawing to achieve this.
By the end of this session you will be able to:
- understand the difference between perimeter, area and volume and be able to calculate these for both simple and more complex shapes
- know that volume is a measure of space inside a 3D object and calculate volumes of shapes in order to solve practical problems
- draw and use a scale drawing or plan.
The task of designing things – like, gardens, for example – can be made much simpler if you have a basic understanding of shape and space. If you're putting up a fence around a garden and you need to calculate the total length of fencing you need, you'll save some money by ordering the correct amount. Or if you're putting fertiliser on a strange-shaped lawn, you can work out its surface area by breaking it down into smaller shapes.
If you wanted to dig a circular pond, you can use the radius of a circle to help calculate its area. And you can use the depth of a shape to calculate its volume. So when working out how far to dig, you don't have to depend on guesswork.
Understanding shapes and spaces can be surprisingly useful for something like gardening. But it won't help everything.