Fencing Your Backyard
Created by Alison Christensen
Subject Area: Geometry
Grade Level: 9 or 10
Students will go through the planning and decision processes for building a fence. They will determine how long the fence will be and where the gates and posts will be. Then they will determine how much lumber they need (posts, pickets, and rails only) and the cost of it. Finally, students will determine what is more cost effective: to paint the fence or to purchase treated wood that does not require paint. This will be accomplished by researching the internet and using spreadsheet software for cost compilation and comparison.
Objective 1: Students working in groups will plan the location of a fence, its posts, and gates and draw a sketch.
Objective 2: Students will calculate perimeter and surface area of their fence.
Objective 3: Students will calculate the number of posts, pickets, and amount of railing needed to construct the fence.
Objective 4: Students will determine the cost of materials for the fence.
Objective 5: Students will identify strategies to lower the overall cost of the fence.
Objective 6: Students will select the most cost effective materials and explain the reasons behind the selections.
1. Students will use geometry sketch software to draw fence layout and location.
2. Students will use the internet to research costs of fencing materials.
3. Students will use spreadsheet software to compile costs of fencing materials.
4. Students will use presentation software to prepare their fence presentation.
You have moved to a new house that has an open backyard. Your family has a dog and you have younger siblings. Your parents would like to build a fence around the backyard so the dog and your siblings can play unharmed. They would like you to determine how much it will cost to build a fence to see if they can afford to do so.
Research and Analysis
1. The students will analyze a house and its surrounding lots to determine where a fence and gates should be placed in relation to the house.
2. The students will use the internet to determine costs of fencing materials, specifically posts, rails, and pickets, from three suppliers.
3. The students will compile fencing material costs using a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet will compare costs from the three suppliers and costs of treated wood vs. non-treated wood (includes paint or stain cost).
4. Students will analyze their spreadsheet data and determine which supplier and type of wood they would use to build their fence. They will explain their reasons for their selection in a presentation.
Each student group is required to prepare a PowerPoint presentation of 8-10 slides.
Student Activities During Computer Use
1. Students will draw their fence layout using geometry sketch software. The drawing will include measurements for the length of an entire side of the fence as well as distances between posts.
2. Students will use the internet to search fencing material suppliers to determine the cost of posts, pickets, and railing for treated wood and non-treated wood.
3. Students will use spreadsheet software to calculate the total costs of their fence and compare the cost of the three suppliers and treated wood vs. non-treated wood. They will also use the chart feature to make a bar chart for easy comparison.
4. Students will create a presentation using PowerPoint software that includes their fence drawing, the fencing material bar chart comparison (from #3 above), two strategies for lowering the overall cost of the fence, the supplier and type of wood they chose, and two reasons for their supplier and type of wood selection.
Student Activities Before Computer Use
1. Students will make a sketch of their fence and measurements using paper, pencil, and calculator before using geometry sketch software.
2. Students will plan how to layout their spreadsheet of fencing material costs by listing row and column headings with paper and pencil.
3. Students will prepare a hand written outline of information for each slide of their PowerPoint presentation. The outline should include two strategies for lowering the overall cost of the fence, the supplier and type of wood they choose, and two reasons for their selection of supplier and type of wood.
Student Activities After Computer Use
Students will thoroughly check their work and calculations, verifying there are no calculation errors and no spelling or grammatical errors in their presentation.
1. Students can research different methods for building fences and how to build different types of fences using the internet or library books.
2. Students can research how to build a fence gate and the proper way of supporting the gate so that it does not sag.
The PowerPoint presentation will be evaluated using a rubric.