What is a Square Root

Lesson Summary:

The lesson introduces the children to the square roots of whole numbers. The discussion is designed to be read individually or in pairs.  In Activity A the children are given the opportunity to experiment with squares, square numbers and square roots using manipulatives.  In Activity B they are required to provide the square root of given numbers.  In both activities they are encouraged to check their own answers by working out the square of the number.


  • The children will understand and be able to explain the concept of squares, square numbers and square roots.
  • The children will be able to demonstrate their understanding by calculating the square roots of given numbers.

Subject Area:


Lesson Excerpt:

Do squares have roots?  Well, of course, they don’t have the same roots that plants have, despite the rather silly picture on the right.  Before we can decide what a square root is, we need to be sure we know the definition of a square.  So, what is a square?  See if you can answer this before reading the next sentence.

A square is a geometrical figure which has four right angles and four equal sides.  That means that all you need to know to be able to draw a square is the length of one side.  Now you have a definition of a square, do you know what a square number is?   If you’ve already worked with areas, you’ll know that a square number is the number of square things that can be arranged in a bigger square.

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