Surface Area Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Do your students know how to calculate surface area? Use our video lesson to highlight essential formulas, then have students engaging in a classroom activity to apply what they've learned.

Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define surface area
  • outline the various formulas for calculating surface area
  • calculate the surface area of assorted objects


30 minutes to 1 hour


  • Assorted wooden blocks of differing shapes
  • White paper
  • Scissors
  • Rulers

Curriculum Standards


Solve real-world and mathematical problems involving area, volume and surface area of two- and three-dimensional objects composed of triangles, quadrilaterals, polygons, cubes, and right prisms.


  • Begin by passing out the wooden blocks, one per student.
  • Now, ask the students to find the surface areas of their blocks.
  • When all students have found the surface areas for their blocks, have them share their answers and methods of reaching their answers for class discussion.
  • Play the video lesson What is Surface Area? - Definition & Formulas.
  • Pause at 1:03.
    • Revisit the student-generated surface area calculations of their blocks. Do the answers provided match up with the discussion on surface area presented in the video lesson? Did the students include measurements for all sides of the block in their calculations?
    • Have students trace each side of their blocks on paper and cut out the sides for visual representations of the surface areas of their blocks.
  • Continue playing the video lesson, pausing at 2:00.
    • Have students copy down the formulas displayed on the screen.
  • Continue playing the video lesson and pause at 2:28.
    • Once again, ask students to write down the different formulas displayed on the screen.
  • Play the rest of the video lesson.

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