Body surface area

This task involves estimating a person’s surface area – from having a guess, to using practical resources and then using formulae. The task develops skills with formulae and units of measure and number sense.

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Summary

This task involves estimating a person’s surface area – from having a guess, to using practical resources and then using formulae. The task develops skills with formulae and units of measure and number sense.

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Strand(s):

Number, Algebra

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Prior knowledge

Appreciation of 3-D mensuration and the concept of surface area.

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Relevance to Core Maths qualifications

  • AQA
  • C&G
  • Eduqas
  • Pearson/ Edexcel
  • OCR

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Suggested approaches

The introductory task could be conducted individually, followed by discussion, before students undertake the practical task in groups. They can estimate body surface area using volume formulae before using the medical formulae for body surface area. Spreadsheets can be used to compare the medical formulae.

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Resources/documentation

In addition to these guidance notes there are extensive teacher notes that incorporate worksheets for students, including an exercise.

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Relevant digital technologies

A spreadsheet can be used to collate the class information and display the scattergraph to compare the two models.

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Possible extensions

Pearson’s product-moment correlation coefficient can be used to quantify the comparison of the two formulae.

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Acknowledgement

Developed by Martin Newton at Stoke on Trent College, based on an idea from the NCETM MEP follow-up session.