How to teach the area of composite/complex figures in an EPIC way!

How to teach the area of composite/complex figures in an EPIC way!

So… you are about to introduce the area of complex figures and area of composite figures in your classroom and want some help!

Every time you feel like thinking about how to get started or how even to think about introducing the topic to your kids, frustration kicks in!

Believe it or not, we all have been there during our first few years of teaching.

Explore the Area of complex figures in an exciting way

But here’s the deal: engagingly teaching math is even more crucial now than ever.


Because of all the technological advancements and ways that kids are being entertained now.

Capturing their attention and keeping them focused on the tedious task of learning math and developing real world problem solving skills has become a real problem!

So the question is, how do you teach the area topic in a way that makes it easy for your kids to grasp the concept?

And finally, make them feel like they are ready to tackle any problem thrown their way.

Start with the Basics:

Like I said, it all starts with basics. And to be honest, there is no other answer to this problem other than nailing the basics!

Here is the hard truth… if kids find the lesson interesting, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated to learn about the problem, think about it, practice it, and ultimately feel a sense of confidence in their skills.

This is why using gamified methods of teaching math inside your classroom can be a handy tool for teaching any concept!

Seeing Math Everywhere:

What I have found the most effective way to present the topic area of composite figures is through real life examples. What I mean by this is…

You can first recall their previous knowledge of “basic shapes” and Ask them what they know about complex shapes from their intuition.

This way, your kids will only consider this topic a math problem. In fact, they will see the practical side of mathematics that they aren’t yet exposed to.

Now, start by exploring the geometry of the basic shapes with them and move on to how the area of these basic shapes is calculated.

Here, the goal is to not only help the kids know how to calculate the area of basic shapes using formulas but also by counting the basic units inside each shape.

Finding the Area of Composite/complex Figures (Color by number)

Since kids have already mastered how to calculate the area of regular shapes, it’s time to introduce them to composite figures.

You can first show them any composite shape like a park or the layout of a house and ask what they see.

Tell them to imagine the shape as a whole building made by several small ones and treat every small shape like rectangle, square or circle as a room inside the building.

Let them think about this concept for a while and then decompose the shape into its parts and find the area of the individual basic shape.

Want some resources to practice the area of squares, rectangles, and triangles in an exciting way? Check out this area and perimeter Color by Number activity below.

Area of complex figures review practice and perimeter of regular and composite figure, area and perimeter of regular shapes

Finding Area of Complex Figures Piece by Piece

Next, break the building made with basic figures into small shapes, each representing a square or rectangle. For better understanding, it’s good to introduce a composite figure with 2 or 3 squares or rectangles and then move on to the more complex figures.

The next step is to ask your kids how many squares or rectangles they see inside their big figures. And lastly, calculate the areas of these individual shapes. Since your kids already know how to calculate the area of regular figures, it would not be a daunting task.

Finding the Area of Complex Figures (Trending and Most Popular)

Now comes the fun part: tell your kids that since we are calculating the area of the whole building, not just the single rooms inside, we have to calculate the area of the whole surface. They can only calculate it by adding the areas of each smaller shape. By summing up, kids will be able to tell what the area of complex figure is. 

Want some fun digital and printable activities to help you with this lesson?

Check out these exciting activity: digital games for area of composite figure that also includes printable worksheets.

Area of composite figure digital game and activity for 6th grade

Want to access free math resources worth $59. Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more about 5th Grade math activities that keep your students entertained while learning math year long.

Join in to get special FREEBIES and Insider’s FUN!