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Lesson Plan #: AELP-GEO0202
Submitted by: Jennifer Romano
Email: JJRTEACH4@aol.com
School/University/Affiliation: Renaissance One, Paterson, NJ; William Paterson University, Wayne, NJ

March 20, 2002

Grade Level: 4, 5


  • Mathematics/Geometry
  • Mathematics/Process Skills
  • Science/Botany
  • Language Arts/Writing

Duration: Five 45-minute sessions

Description: In this activity, students will use their understanding of perimeter and area to plan a school garden. Students must follow the requirements provided by the school principal.

Goals: New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards :

  • Standard 4.1: All students will develop the ability to pose and solve mathematical problems in mathematics, other disciplines, and everyday experiences.
  • Standard 4.9: All students will develop an understanding of and will use measurement to describe and analyze phenomena.


  • Students will be able to calculate the perimeter and area of a rectangular space.
  • Students will be able to research flowers and plants suitable for the given environment.
  • Students will be able to write a letter to the principal explaining their plans for the school garden.
  • Materials:

    • encyclopedias or Internet availability for researching flowers and plants
    • paper
    • pencils
    • Sample Principal Letter
    • Garden Worksheet
      Handouts in .pdf format; requires free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

      Click the icon to obtain the free Reader.


  • perimeter – The distance around a figure (P=L+L+W+W).
  • area – The number of square units needed to cover the surface of a figure (A=L*W).
  • Procedure:
    Near the end of a unit about perimeter and area, present a poster size letter written by the school principal. (This can be word processed and made into a poster by a poster machine. Or, the letter can be made into an overhead transparency.) In the letter, the principal asks students to plan a flower garden for the school. The letters lists the requirements for the garden. Students are to use these requirements to develop a plan for the garden (measurements and a diagram).

    The flower garden activity has three main parts. First, students need to determine the measurements of the garden (focusing on perimeter and area). Second, students need to research the types of plants that would be suitable for the garden. Lastly, students need to write a letter to the principal explaining their mathematical measurements and reasoning, along with the names of the flowers and plants to be used in the garden.

    Encourage students to develop their plans on scrap paper, so the teacher can assess their work before the final copy is recorded on a worksheet (see Materials ). Students may use books, encyclopedias, and/or the Internet to research plants that would be suitable for the garden. When students’ plans have met with the teacher’s approval, then students can complete the Garden Worksheet. Students will show their mathematical understanding of area and perimeter, and they will construct a drawing showing where the flowers and plants will be located. Once students have completed the Garden Worksheet, they can begin writing a letter to the principal explaining their plan for the garden.

    [ Author’s Note: Once all papers have been graded and assessed, the class can vote on the best garden and letter. As an extension, students could be given a similar problem to solve, such as determining the dimensions of a basketball court. Similar problems could be set up as a learning center in the classroom.]

    Assessment: Review the worksheets and letters to the principal to assess students’ understanding of the concepts of area and perimeter. Did students select appropriate flowers and plants for the garden? Did students provide a clear explanation of their mathematical reasoning in their letters to the principal? Useful Internet Resources:
    * New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards for Mathematics

    * Using Area and Perimeter to Design a Fun House

    * Eisenhower National Clearinghouse

    Special Comments: The students enjoy this lesson because they feel like it is their creation.