Word 2002
Personal Letter - Math Activity
A Webtask for adult learners

Every Word document has a choice of how large you want your margins (the empty spaces around the text). The default (automatic) settings are usually 1.25 inches. 

If you have a letter with a lot of text, you may want to decrease the margin sizes. That will help you keep everything on one page and make it look balanced.

ACTIVITY 1: Calculate changes in the writing spaces with different margin sizes.

Suppose your page is 11 inches high and 8 inches wide. The area of the page would be 88 square inches. (11 X 8). If you count all of the little 1-inch squares, you'll find 88 squares, or 88 square inches!












































































































Imagine that the gray areas represent one-inch margins around the page. You could count all of those little gray squares to find the area they cover. An easier way, is to just add the number of squares on all sides:

11+11+8+8= 38 square inches of margin.

What is the area that is left inside? Well, it would be the total area minus the margin: 

88-38= 50 square feet.

How much writing space would be left inside if you added half of an inch to the left margin and half of an inch to the top margin of the page above?


How much writing space would be left inside if you added one and a half inch to the top margin and brought the left margin in only half an inch instead of a whole inch on the page above?

ACTIVITY 2: Calculate changes in the writing spaces using graph paper.

On a piece of graph paper, draw imaginary card and letter shapes. Calculate the areas in different shapes. 

You can buy pads with graph paper or you can download them from the Internet. Click on any of the following links and print the paper you want.

http://www.printfree.com/Office/GraphPaper1.htm - Just print the page!

http://www.incompetech.com/beta/plainGraphPaper/ - Choices of sizes

http://www.mathematicshelpcentral.com/graph_paper.htm - Choices of types and sizes

[You can also make your own graph paper in WORD. Remember how to draw a table? All you need to do is draw a very large table with numerous columns and rows. Be sure they make square cells and not rectangular cells.]

When you finish practicing, date and sign your practice pages and place them in your portfolio.

Funded by the Colorado Department of Education through the Cortez Adult Education Program. All rights reserved.
ŠUnlimited Learning, 2004

Leecy Wise, author