Estimating Numbers

Posted on Oct 5, 2020

Young learners usually love to play guessing games, and that is a lot like estimating. So, you can encourage your young learner to play a guessing game with you as you teach them about estimating numbers. As they learn a few tricks about how to choose the right answer, the “game” will be even more fun. Of course, you can always ramp up the excitement of guessing games with small tokens or prizes for your young learner to add interest and provide a reward.

Let’s Review Counting

Before you dive into estimating, it’s helpful to review counting. We all can be forgetful at times, and since they are just starting out with learning, they will need a few reminders in the beginning about their numbers. You can count to ten together with them: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.

Estimating the Number of Objects

This is a good time to pull a few objects out of your box of goodies or your pocket, whichever you prefer, so they can count objects along with you. Young learners will enjoy the tactile experience of handling and counting objects, and it deepens their understanding that a group of objects can be assigned a number. Some kids will take off with counting and start counting everything in sight. Remind them that they need to count objects that are alike, such as counting all the pencils, the pennies, the petals on the flower, and so on. Also, count out groups of five, and ten (as we will be using these numbers later) to get students aware of what groups of five and ten objects actually look like. Now, they are ready to move on to estimating. 

5 Bananas!

This is five bananas! It may seem silly but visualizing what a group of five objects looks like is a great way to get started with estimating! When you know what five objects look like, you can use that as a base to understanding what a few more or a few less than five objects should look like!

Using the 10-Frame

You can help your young learners estimate the number of objects there are by introducing 5-frames and 10-frames. These are just like  “containers” that can hold ten objects. Drawing a row of 5 connected squares – or boxes – is all you need for a 5-frame. If you draw a rectangle with five boxes on the top and five on the bottom, you’ll have a 10-frame. Remember that each box can only hold one object. So, when you fill up these boxes with objects, it gives young learners a visual of ten objects. This visualization of actual objects in reference to the numbers of five and ten can help them to estimate quicker. They only need to glance at the frame to see if the top five are filled up with objects and about how many are filled on the bottom. Then they can estimate more accurately. It’s a lot easier than taking a stab in the dark at how many objects there are.

A 10-Frame & a Number Line

10-frames and number lines are both useful tools for counting and estimating!

Estimating Numbers Using a Number Line

You can also provide a number line for your young learners when they are estimating numbers. If you’re wondering how this will help them, it can make the adding or subtracting process simpler, because they can visualize all the numbers from one to ten in one line, and then move up and down the line with more ease, and without the fear of forgetting a number along the way. 

Watch the Mini Math Movie

Now have your young learner watch our mini math movie about estimating. They will see how much fun it is learning to estimate. They can tune in every week for more cool math for kids!



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