Teaching Area with Perler Beads! #CraftyTeaching

Okay so, my first two units of math were…. mehhh…. okay. Nothing spectacular. I used a lot of worksheets, had the kids take a lot of notes, and did a LOT of standing in front of the class talking at them. I used too many anchor charts that ended up being thrown away. (Nothing wrong with anchor charts – I love them – but they weren’t “hang up on the wall” worthy). My test scores were so-so. Overall, everything was very mediocre. Those units were a review of addition & subtraction with regrouping, rounding, and multiplication.

For the third unit of math, I revamped my entire math centers. Centers were the main part of my instruction this time around. I probably only taught 3 or 4 whole-group lessons for the entire unit. I used lots and lots of choice boards and hands on projects to help my students {especially my ESOL ones} truly understand the material.

Luckily, teaching area (3.MD.5, 6, & 7) is a category that it is very easy to get hands-on with. I took full advantage of this to give my new centers a test-run and to give my best shot at having my students truly understand area.


One of the centers that I had for this unit was having the students create robots with Perler beads. This was a two part center {it took two rotations to complete}. The first rotation (i.e., the first week) was sketching, coloring, and finding the area of their robots. I let the students take complete creative control of what their robots were going to look like – and it came out SO CUTE. It never ceases to amaze me the incredibly creative minds that these 8 year olds have!


For the second rotation of this center (i.e., week two), the students were at my table creating their robots. Prior to them reaching my table, I looked over each students’ answers for their robots. I had the students write the area for each shape that was the same color that was touching. If there were two pink squares but they weren’t touching each other, then they were separate areas. When the students got to my desk, I had any incorrect answers circled so that they would have the opportunity to go back and fix their mistake.


Creeper anyone?

In the end, I made the robots into Christmas ornaments for each students. Right before we leave for Christmas break, I am going to send the robots home with the kids to put on their own trees at home. If making Christmas ornaments is not something that you can do in your classroom, you can always stick a magnet on the back and let them put them on their refrigerators OR you can make them into keychains!

You can download the free printable robot sketch worksheet HERE.


I’d love to hear if you used this in your classroom to teach area and how it turned out!



  1. Catherine says:

    This is a very motivational way to teach area. I bet the kids were really on task for these activities. Thanks for sharing. I teach intervention, so I can use this with 3rd graders but also as review for older kids.

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