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Area Code Mathematics

Note: Due to the fast growth in the number of area codes (new area codes being added monthly), this lesson is no longer valid as written. You can use this lesson along with the 2001 Area Code map (as written) or you can create new questions to accompany a current Area Code map (source provided). As another alternatve, you might adapt this lesson by creating your own questions based on area codes in your state or region.

Phone Book Math graphic

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  • Mathematics
  • Social Sciences


3-5, 6-8, 9-12

Brief Description

Students solve math problems based on a U.S. area code map.


Students will solve grade-appropriate math problems (for example, three-digit addition, subtraction, or multiplication) using the telephone area codes supplied on a U.S. area code map.


telephone, map, addition, subtraction, multiplication

Materials Needed

  • Internet access or an area code map (or a transparency of an area code map and an overhead projector) from your local phone directory or from a Web page such as
    Area Codes Map (current) or
    Area Codes Map (2001))
  • teacher-created, grade-appropriate math problems (either on work sheets or ready to read aloud)
  • paper
  • pens or pencils

Lesson Plan

Provide students with access to a telephone area code map. Hand out work sheets with grade-appropriate problems for students to solve, or call out math problems for individuals or groups to solve. For example, using the 2001 map (link above)
  • Grade 2 and up: What is the total of Idaho and North Dakota? (This problem requires no carrying: 208 + 701 = 909)
  • Grade 3 and up: What is the total of western Nebraska and the area that includes Wichita, Kansas? (This problem requires simple carrying: 308 + 316 = 624)
  • Grade 4 and up: What is the total of Alabama? (256 + 205 + 334 + 251 = 1,046)
  • Grade 5 and up: What is the difference between western Colorado and northernmost Arizona? (970 - 928 = 42)
  • Grade 6 and up: Which state multiplied times 2 equals Vermont? (Vermont is area code 802; Rhode Island is area code 401. 401 x 2 = 802)


Students correctly solve 75 percent of the problems.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards



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Copyright © 2010 Education World

Originally published 6/14/2002
Last updated 07/02/2010