What is estimation? Let's see what my dictionary widget says:
Estimation is a valuable part of your
classroom routine daily life. I often say, "Estimate everyday!" I was pleased to see that Dan Meyer agrees in in his recent blog post where he offered making estimation a part of your daily routine as "one of the steps we can take to acclimate our students gradually to new ways of learning math."
Luckily we have the materials at our fingertips to make this happen fairly easily. All it takes is a photo! Check out Andrew Stadel's Estimation 180 project for some serious inspiration. Just a quick flip through some of the photos and you can see that there numerous connections to measurement, whole numbers, fractions, and the math list goes on and on! Class discussion about how students predict their estimates will reveal how students are thinking about number and the connections they are making among mathematical ideas.
Sometimes our elementary students really need to count and touch concrete materials to prove their estimates. Just the other day I was inspired by Rayla Rucker through my twitter feed. Check out the process of estimating she took the students through:
Then, Rayla tweeted out what the students were saying:
If you are a parent, start estimating with your child today. Show a picture or give a jar of beans and ask, "How many?" Then, show your child you value the process by talking about reasonableness, strategy and well, math!
If you are a teacher, start collecting photos and collections of objects to estimate. Are you still in touch with your class via twitter, a blog, etc? Then, I challenge you to do a summer estimation station via social networking!
If you are a student, run an estimation contest with your family and friends during your break from the pool. Don't forget to put those estimates on a number line!
Let's stay curious this summer and have some fun sharpening our estimation skills!