Help: Chart of Area Units To Scale
This is me abusing the fact that there are many talented, resourceful math teachers who read this. This is me asking for your help. It’s similar to a question I would have posed on Twitter, but the question is much too big, so I’m also abusing the fact that I have a blog. Sidenote: this is another wonderful benefit to being a member of the blogotwittersphere – that instead of asking my department for resources, I get to ask the whole world!
I’m preparing for a unit on area and, based on an informal exit ticket I gave a few days ago, my students don’t know very much about area even on a conceptual level. Which is sort of exciting to me, since it means I get to teach them from scratch. One thing I want to impress on them is how the choice of units effects the type of answer you get. I want to impress this on them visually – to show them a 1 cm x 1 cm square, then a 1 in x 1 in square, then a 1 ft x 1 ft square, then… etc etc etc. If area is determining the number of squares that can fit inside a shape, then I want them to know that the size of the square is a big deal.
To do this, I thought of xkcd. They have several incredible charts of different objects that are to scale. The most recent one, and one of my favorites, is the comparative cost and distribution of wealth:
They also have the height of the observable universe and depth of a computer circuit to the neuron level. The important thing is that all three of these diagrams are to scale, which paints a powerful visual picture for comparisons.
What I just spent 30 minutes fruitlessly Google searching for: A chart/image/visual that has a to scale representation of several different area measurements – all side-by-side – so I can show it to my students and we can compare them. I imagine it would look something like this (only prettier and more accurate and better in every way because I made this in 30 seconds):
Finally he gets to the point: Do you, dear reader, know of any such chart? Any place on the internet that sounds like that I’m looking for? Something visual that I can show to my students and we can explore this idea that the bigger the unit, the larger the square, so the smaller the area – and the smaller the unit, the smaller the square, so the larger the area. The most important thing to me is that it is to scale – the accuracy matters and my kids deserve it and I’m a little OCD like that. If you know of any such resource, please please please tell me in the comments.