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NSW Syllabuses

Mathematics K–10 - Early Stage 1 - Measurement and Geometry Area


A student:

  • MAe-1WM

    describes mathematical situations using everyday language, actions, materials and informal recordings

  • MAe-3WM

    uses concrete materials and/or pictorial representations to support conclusions

  • MAe-10MG

    describes and compares areas using everyday language


  • Students:
  • Use direct comparison to decide which shape has a larger area and explain their reasoning using everyday language
  • identify the attribute of 'area' as the measure of the amount of surface
  • cover surfaces completely with smaller shapes
  • make closed shapes and describe the area of each shape
  • use computer software to draw a closed shape, colouring in the area (Communicating) ICT
  • use everyday language to describe area, eg surface, inside, outside L
  • use comparative language to describe area, eg bigger than, smaller than, the same as L
  • ask questions about area in everyday situations, eg 'Which book cover is bigger?' (Communicating) LCCT
  • compare two areas directly, eg superimposing or superpositioning two surfaces
  • demonstrate how one surface is bigger than another by comparing directly (Reasoning) CCT
  • predict whether a surface will be larger or smaller than another surface and explain the reasons for this prediction (Communicating, Reasoning) CCT
  • record area comparisons informally by drawing, tracing, or cutting and pasting, and by using numerals and words L

Background Information

Area relates to the measurement of two-dimensional space in the same way that volume and capacity relate to the measurement of three-dimensional space.

The attribute of area is the amount of surface (either flat or curved) and can be measured in square units, eg square centimetres (cm2), square metres (m2).

In Early Stage 1, students develop an awareness of the attribute of area and some of the language used to describe area. They develop an awareness of the attribute of area through covering activities, through colouring in, and as comparisons of area are made.

Students should be given opportunities to compare: two similar shapes of different areas where one fits inside the boundary of the other; two different-shaped areas where one can be placed on top of the other; two shapes where one shape can be cut up and pasted onto the other.

Once students can compare two areas, they should then be given the opportunity to order three or more areas. This process requires students to understand that if A is larger than B, and B is larger than C, then A is larger than C.


Students should be able to communicate using the following language: area, surface, closed shape, inside, outside, bigger than, smaller than, the same as.

Superimposing – the comparison of areas by placing one area on top of another.
This image of a rectangle has another smaller rectangle placed upon it to depict superimposing.

Superpositioning – the comparison of areas by aligning the edges (or corners) of two areas when one is placed on top of the other.
This image of a rectangle has a smaller rectangle placed upon it aligned with the bottom left corner.

National Numeracy Learning Progression links to this Mathematics outcome

When working towards the outcome MAe‑10MG the sub-elements (and levels) of Understanding units of measurement (UuM1-UuM2) and Understanding geometric properties (UGP1), describe observable behaviours that can aid teachers in making evidence-based decisions about student development and future learning.

The progression sub-elements and indicators can be viewed by accessing the National Numeracy Learning Progression.