Using Resources Effectively

ACP Lesson Plan 

Title: Using Resources EffectivelyAuthor: Nathan Falk
Subject(s):  Math
Grade Level(s): 6Total Time: 1-2 class periods

Overview / Description:

In this math lesson, students will be using math skills to determine the best layout of industrial parts to be cut from a sheet of metal. Students will then calculate both the cost of the materials used and the percentage and cost of waste remaining after cutting out the industrial parts.

Learning goals/objectives:

After completing this activity, students should be able to . . .

  • create a layout of industrial parts which makes the best use of resources
  • calculate the cost of materials used
  • calculate the cost and percentage of waste remaining after cutting out industrial parts

Workplace Readiness Skill:

    Social Skills  X Communication 
X    Teamwork     X     Critical Thinking
   Attitude and Initiative  X  Planning and Organization
   Professionalism    Media Etiquette

Content Standards:

Common Core Standards for Math


Find the area of right triangles, other triangles, special quadrilaterals, and polygons by composing into rectangles or decomposing into triangles and other shapes; apply these techniques in the context of solving real-world and mathematical problems.

Wisconsin Comprehensive School Counseling Model

Personal/Social Domain

Standard E: Students will demonstrate effective decision-making, problem-solving, and goal-setting skills.


Download: noreplycesa8.org_20190805_144811.pdf

  • 20 x 24 Graph Paper

Download: noreplycesa8.org_20190805_145256.pdf

  • Scissors

Learning Activities:

WHO (T=Teacher Focus Lesson; WG=Whole Group; SM=Small Group; I=Independent)

Learning Activity Task                                                WHO is responsible
for this step?
Approximate time
for task
Step 1: Teacher will lead students through a lesson on calculating the area of an object. There are no particular materials necessary for this lesson, although if this lesson is not already contained in the student textbook, the teacher may refer to the linked resource at minutes
Step 2: Once students are comfortable calculating the area of a number of different objects, explain that they will be working on a real-world problem:

"In manufacturing, it's common for each piece which is put together to make an object to be cut from sheets of metal or wood. It is the job of the CNC programmer to fit the most shapes onto each sheet of metal to reduce waste. Today, you will become CNC programmers. In pairs or groups, you will be using the shapes included on the linked worksheet and the 20 x 24 square "sheets" to determine the best layout for cutting the shapes. You will then calculate the cost of the materials you used, along with calculating the percentage and cost of the waste materials left." Explain that limiting the number of cuts necessary is also important, so shapes may definitely butt up against each other but not overlap.

Teacher will then pass out post-it shapes and 2 sheets of graph paper to student pairs. Actual Post-its may be used rather than the Post-its Sheet. 
T5 min.
Step 3: Students will work together to determine the best placement of their Post-its to reduce waste. Once Post-its are placed, students should cut out the shapes, keeping all of their waste pieces together. SM15-20 minutes
Step 4: 
Teacher will then explain the process for determining waste: "Any left-over piece in the shape of a square or rectangle that is at least 12 x 12 can be used for cutting new shapes, so those are not considered waste. Sort through your pile and see if you have any parallelograms which are at least 12 x 12." Give student groups time to follow the directions.
T-SM10 minutes
Step 5: Once student pairs have sorted out their useable material, have them collect the rest of the waste material. Using the second sheet of graph paper, students should fill the area with waste pieces in the same manner as they did the Post-its, butting pieces against each other without overlapping to create the smallest area possible. Students should then determine the area taken up by the waste materials.SM10 minutes


Teacher will circulate during work periods to observe progress.

Student groups will complete Exit ticket at the end of the period as a formative assessment.


Have students complete the exit ticket. Do a whip-around of groups to see who had the smallest area of waste. 

Extension Activity (for intervention or enrichment):

  • Struggling students could work in a small group rather than in pairs. 
  • Think-pair-share: Student pairs could find another pair and collaborate before cutting takes place in Step 3.
  • Student groups could take a picture of their graph paper before cutting out their shapes to share on Day 2 in a discussion of how each group determined how to place their shapes and reduce waste.
  • Teacher could invite a CNC programmer in to discuss the importance of reducing waste and using resources effectively.
  • Summative assessment could include students completing a similar activity individually after feedback from exit tickets.
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