Calculating the area of compound rectilinear shapes

Introduced in the Year 5 curriculum as: "Calculate and compare the area of rectangles (including squares), and including using standard units, square centimetres (cm2 ) and square metres (m2 ) and the area of irregular shapes"

The area of a shape is how many square cm are inside.

A compound shape is 2 smaller shapes joined together.

To work out the total area, split the shape into the smaller shapes, work out the area of each, then add them together.


Example 1:

Find the area of the two following shapes:

First, we need to split the shapes into smaller shapes.

To find the area of

this shape by multiplying 2 by 7.

2cm x 7cm = 14²

We must first find the correct

length of this shape as it is

not the full 8cm.

8cm - 2cm = 6cm

6cm x 4cm = 24²

The area of the two shapes is

and 2 x 7 = 14cm²

4cm x 6cm = 24cm²

Finally, we need to add the area of each shape together to find the total area:

24cm² + 14cm² = 38cm²


Example 2:

Area = 4 x 10 + 4 x 3

= 52cm²


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