Lesson Plan: Using Determinants to Calculate Areas Mathematics

This lesson plan includes the objectives, prerequisites, and exclusions of the lesson teaching students how to use determinants to calculate areas of triangles and parallelograms given the coordinates of their vertices.

Objectives

Students will be able to

  • find the area of a triangle using determinants
    • when given a graph of the triangle in the coordinate plane,
    • when given the coordinates of the triangle’s vertices,
  • find the area of a parallelogram using determinants
    • when given a graph of the parallelogram in the coordinate plane,
    • when given at least 3 coordinates of the parallelogram’s vertices,
  • determine whether three points are collinear by finding the area of the triangle they construct.

Prerequisites

Students should already be familiar with

  • finding the determinant of a 2×2 matrix,
  • finding the determinant of a 3×3 matrix.

Exclusions

Students will not cover

  • vectors.

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