Teaching students to use formulas is challenging if they can’t remember the formulas. To help my students with this task, I had them create formula charts as I worked through some problems with them using the document camera.

Formulas for Finding Area

Using a three-column layout on notebook paper, I would draw a shape and ask students to name it. Next, we wrote the formula for finding the area of that shape, and then used it to solve the problem. With practice, I could see these ideas were sticking better, but still not quite enough. So I gave each student a piece of white construction paper along with some scrap paper of various colors, and asked them to create a poster showing each polygon’s formula. For their illustrations, they could use any numbers.

Chart: Finding the Area of Shapes

The posters turned out nicely, but better yet, it seemed that after thinking through the process while creating their posters that the formulas now stuck in their minds. Our test is tomorrow, so we’ll see how well this idea worked.