Elementary Mathematics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab, Assessment, Homework/Assignment
Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary
  • Adobe Spark
  • Digital Photo
  • Lesson Plan
  • Perimeter
  • Polygons
  • Project
    Creative Commons Attribution
    Media Formats:

    Education Standards

    Perimeter in the Real World

    Perimeter in the Real World


    Students will take photos of polygons in the real world, find their perimeter, and present their photos and findings in an Adobe Spark creation.


    Students will find the perimeter of the real world polygons depicted in their original photos. Can be done individually or in small groups. Anticipate multiple 30 minute sessions.

    Background for Teachers

    To teach this lesson, you will need an understanding of taking and editing digital photos, how to use Adobe Spark, and how to find perimeter of polygons., or the Pixlr app, is a versitle tool for the photo editing portion of this lesson as it can be accessed using any device (phone, tablet, computer) that has internet. Touchscreen devices allow for less accuracy as all drawing must be done by touch instead of tools that make crisp lines and text. Examples in this lesson were made on a Mac with the ability to use the draw lines and text boxes tools. Adjust expectations for touchscreen drawings accordingly.

    If you have access to Macs, the photos can be edited in Preview by clicking on the "show markup toolbar" on the right side of the header by the search bar and using the "shapes" and "text box" tools.

    If you lack photo editing technology, see section Strategies for Diverse Learners for other options.

    Student Prior Knowledge

    Prior to this lesson, students will need to have an understanding of how to find the perimeter of polygons. They will also need to have a basic knowledge of taking digital photos, editing to include lines and text in a simple photo editor, and using Adobe Spark for presentations.

    Student Learning Intentions & Success Criteria

    Learning Intentions:

    • Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of polygons and perimeter.

    Success Criteria:

    • Students will present original photographs of polygons and show how they found the perimeter in an Adobe Spark creation.

    Instructional Procedures

    Perimeter in the Real World:

    1. Students will use a camera or device with photo capabilities to take a picture of a polygon (square, rectangle, triangle, etc) in the real world. Encourage creativity in finding polygons in unusual places. Example: a stop sign is an obvious octogon but if you look closely you will see that a bicycle has multiple triangles and a fence has many rectangles.

    2. Explain to students that by taking their own photos, they will be the author and have full copyright. By using photos from others, the internet, etc. they will be subject to copyright laws, which often include how they are able to be used and if they are allowed to be edited. For this project we will be editing photos so using original photos will prevent any worry about copyright issues. Learning to take and use original photos is a good thing to practice.

    3. Each student should find and take photos of at least 3 polygons. Photos should be crisp, not blurry. Zoom in on the polygon. Example: if you use a bike for an example of triangles, take a picture of the frame or wheel where the triangle is located instead of the whole bike.

    4. If using a standard digital camera, download photos onto the device to be used for their photo editing and project.

    Photo editing:

    1. Students will need to open their photo in a photo editor like Pixlr. Pixlr is a good option as it can be accessed from any device with internet. (See Strategies for Diverse Learners section for non-digital option)

    2. Have students use the drawing tools to outline the polygon in their photo that they will be finding the perimeter of. The ability to draw lines is found under the shapes section in the drawing tools when accessing Pixlr on a computer. On a touchscreen device like a tablet or smartphone, the draw tool is named Paint.

    3. Measure each side of the polygon using a ruler. Student may zoom in on the polygon to measure it but make sure to keep the same zoom level while measuring each side of the polygon. Measurements can be made in inches or centimeters and rounded to the nearest half unit.

    4. Using the text box or drawing tool, students will label each side of the polygon with the measurement found in step 3. Make sure to include units measured in (inches or centimeters).

    5. Save the photo with the polygon perimeter outlined and sides labeled.

    6. Repeat steps 1-5 with each photo.

    Final Project:

    1. Open Adobe Spark on any device. Students may choose to make their project as a photo collage, presentation, or slide show. Examples of each provided.

    2. Once project type has been chosen, students will follow the format for their specific project adding a title, their name, and their edited photos with the polygons outlined and labeled. At least 3 photos required.

    3. On or near each photo needs to be text showing the solved equation for the perimeter of the polygon pictured.

    4. When complete, save project and share link with the teacher.

    Strategies for Diverse Learners

    Photos may be printed in order for students to complete tracing of the polygon and labeling of measurements, especially if student knowledge of photo editing would be a barrier to completion of the project. Photos can then be taken of the edited paper photo to include in the Adobe Spark creation.

    Project can be completed in pairs or small groups for those who need extra scaffolding.

    Ideas for students who need additional challenge: include more photos than the base requirement, do a voice overlay on the project explaining the perimeter of the polygon found in each photo, give accurate true-to-life size measurements for the polygons

    Assessment Plan

    Students will complete an Adobe Spark creation using at least 3 of their original photos of polygons in the world. Polygons in photos are identified and measurements labeled. Equations showing perimeter of the polygon included for each photo.

    Project Examples

    Here are some examples of projects completed in Adobe Spark.