Square Roots with Cheez-Its and a Graphic Organizer

I saw a cute picture on Pinterest using Cheez-It’s to practice area and perimeter.  My first thought was, “Pefect Squares!” and could not wait to develop a Square Roots Cheez-It lesson.

I made a graphic organizer to go into their Geometry Booklets so that they could more effectively take notes.  It is half-sheet sized so it will also fit into composition books.

Square Roots Graphic Organizer

I used one box of Cheez-It’s per class.  What I loved the most about this activity was that it was very visual for my students (and they remembered it well because of the food addition).  Each time we did a square root, I would ask them, “Do 6 cheez-it’s make a square?”  And they remember it is a rectangle.

The kids loved making perfect squares with their Cheez-It’s and I even had a few groups combine their Cheez-It’s at the end to see who could make the largest perfect square!

The Numberline:
The number line is one of the most important aspects of this lesson.  I have them label it (see pictures) so that they can quickly estimate what a square root SHOULD be before they blindly punch it into their calculators.  This also helps when simplifying square roots using the radical sign instead of decimals.  I challenge them to see how close they come when estimating square roots with decimals.  They estimate, and then check it with their calculators.  The next day I played “Around the World” with perfects squares and estimating square roots in their heads.  Here is the Around the World PPT.  Square Roots – Around the World

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37 thoughts on “Square Roots with Cheez-Its and a Graphic Organizer

  1. Thanks! Great idea which will brighten up my maths learners’ day.

    A nice, tactile way to discover that consecutive squares can be found by adding consecutive odd numbers (always odd, as an even number will ‘cover’ two sides but leave the corner of an enlarged square blank).

    Please explain how to play “around the world”?

    • In Around the World, two students stand up next to each other. I put up a slide with a question on it and the first person to answer gets to move on to the next student. A student wins when he beats every student in the class (thus going around the classroom/world). Sometimes we run out of time before we have a true winner so I award the student who moved the most spots the winner.

  2. Just found your blog and I’m excited to try some of these things next year. I’m a math geek at heart…been teaching for 9 years, 8 of which were solely science but moving back into math just in time for common core to kick in and so excited to have some of your great ideas to try next year. I’m all about foldables and being from a science background, any activities are awesome! Keep them coming!

  3. I am so excited to have found your blog! This next year I will be student teaching at a school in Waco, TX, and I love all of your ideas I’ve seen so far! How exactly did this lesson progress? Did the start by making squares with the Cheez-Its and then count how many were in the squares? Could you clarify for me a little? Thank you so much! 🙂

    • Hi Margaret,

      I’m glad you found posts that you can use! I started the lesson by having the students analyze the dimensions of one Cheez-it square (1×1), which has an area of 1 unit squared. Then, I repeated this with a four Cheez-it square. I asked them to make a square with 6 Cheez-it’s. We talk about why they can’t. Then, I have them use their Cheez-it’s to find more squares and record the dimensions and area into the chart with their partner. They figured out the pattern very quickly and were easily able to completed the chart to 144 without needing 144 Cheez-it’s. Good luck student teaching! It’s such an exciting and rewarding career!

  4. This IS great! Thx for sharing. I teach alg2 so students should already have an understanding of square roots but I keep getting proven wrong on that! I think next yr I will start out alg2 units w/activities like this to make sure they all understand what a perfect square is before we jump into using it.

    • It’s funny you say this. I loop with my students. Even though they loved this lesson and really got it, we don’t use square roots too much in 6th grade. The next year they had completely forgotten what a square root was! I need to move this lesson before area formulas so I can use it with area of triangles.

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  8. +500 on including the number line. Made that addition and helped immensely. I was doing similar activity expect using the square pieces from an algebra tiles set. May just need to use food next time. 🙂

    Their estimation skills and number sense grew much quicker with the visual of the number line. In the past we were just using the perfect squares chart. Silly me.

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  13. Thanks so much for sharing. I have used the crackers in the past to help my students to understand the relationship of squares, area, square root, and dimensions. I love the chart and the number line. Good stuff.

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  18. This is a great visual activity! I love that the students can see WHY 5 is the square root of 25, or why 34 is not a perfect square, and not just that these are the facts. I do have to wonder though if there were a lot a Cheez-Its already eaten by the time you got to the biggest square, because I know I would have snacked on a few!

    • I completely agree with you Julie! I would have definitely snacked on a few as well.. I thought this was a very creative activity and think it will stick with students for awhile because of how hands on it is. I’m a hands on learner so I wish my teachers in the past would have thought of this! Awesome!

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