Make learning how to calculate surface area fun using a homemade paper cube. Hands-on approaches are great for introducing kids to new concepts. Referring to a 3-D model of the shape as she works will help your fifth grader visualize surface area, and give her a better understanding of the concept.
Have your child decorate the cube using markers, crayons, and/or colored pencils. She can also add glitter glue, sequins, etc.
Have your child carefully cut the pattern out along the outer edge only.
Fold along the remaining lines.
Attach the small flaps to the squares with glue or tape to form the cube. If using glue you may need to give it time to dry before handling.
Have your child measure the length and width of each side. Find the area of each side by multiplying the length and width together. The length should be 2 inches and the width 2 inches also. Multiply 2 X 2 = 4 inches. Then add the area of the six sides together: 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 = 24 inches squared is the surface area.
After the activity is complete, have your child calculate the surface area of other cube or rectangular shaped objects around the house. For example, shoe box, cable box, digital camera, etc.