Monday, September 28, 2015

Draw Polygons with a Given Perimeter using Pro-Bot

Can you program the Pro-Bot to draw polygons & compound figures with a given perimeter?

This is an assignment that I designed for our Grade 3 students. It relates to the Common Core Math Standards: Geometric measurement: recognize perimeterFor this exercise, I highly recommend using graph paper, as it provides a helpful medium for the kids to work out the math problems. Provide at least one sheet per child to work out the problem and then additional sheets as required for the groups to draw the figures using Pro-Bot. Here is a link to a graph paper with 1 cm grid in PDF format; you can make copies for the students to draw on using the Pro-Bot.

Perimeter of a Figure

A perimeter is a path that surrounds a two-dimensional shape. The term may be used for either the path or its length. It can be thought of as the length of the outline of a shape. (Wiki)

How do you calculate the perimeter of a given figure? You add the length of all the sides of that figure that form its outline. Say you are given a square with sides 3 cm each. The perimeter of the square is 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 = 12 cm. Similarly, a 5 cm x 6 cm rectangle. has a perimeter of 5 + 6 + 5 + 6 = 22 cm. 

Can we do the reverse too? Given the perimeter, can we come up with the design for a figure with that perimeter? 

Let's look at an example. Given a perimeter of 12 cm, how many polygons can we draw? We can draw multiple polygons, all with the exact same perimeter of 12 cm. In the figure below, you can see:
  • a square 3 cm x 3 cm,
  • a rectangle 5 cm x 1 cm,
  • a rectangle 4 cm x 2 cm,
  • a hexagon with sides 3 cm, 1 cm, 1 cm, 1 cm, 4 cm, 2 cm

Can you think of more polygons with a perimeter of 12 cm?

Let's now look at a scenario that shows the practical application of the concept of perimeters. And then program the Pro-Bot to draw a few polygons with a given perimeter.

Programming Assignment

Old McDonald lives on a farm and has lots of animals. He would like to build a new set of fences to keep his cows safe.

  1. If Old McDonald has 36 meters of fencing available, how many different ways can he build an enclosed area for his cows? Make a rough drawing of the figures that you come up with and then program the Pro-Bot to draw them on graph paper. Use 1 cm to represent 1 m in your figures.
  2. Classify the figures that you came up with into the various classes of polygons based on the number of sides.
  3. Write programs for Pro-Bot to draw at least 3 of the figures that you came up with.
  4. Suppose Old McDonald has only 35 meters of fencing available, but wants to build a square or rectangular fence using all of that fencing material. Would it be possible for him to build it? Why or why not? 
  5. You can program the Pro-Bot to draw other figures with the 36 cm perimeter. Or explore other figures with different perimeters.

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