Education Technology

Using the Distance Formula to find Trapezoidal Area

Published on 10/17/2005

Activity Overview

This activity can be used as a formative assessment review of algebra and coordinate geometry

Before the Activity

This can be used on multiple levels; in an algebra class as an activity that can tie algebra to geometry, or as a review of algebra in a geometry class.

During the Activity

In the activity center settings, the points at the vertices of the front face of the building are given. The students can be told to do a number of different activities form this point alone, but I prefer them to find the distances necessary (by using the distance formula) to find the area of the front face of the building. I guide the students by having them show their work on paper, then I go over each distance to verify answers before finding the area.
The trapezoid shown is presented as a right trapezoid. For extra credit, I have students submit equations that trace the edges of the front face of the building as well.

After the Activity

A review sheet on trapezoidal area and distance formula with 3 problems.