Learning to estimate takes some time, thought and skill. We work on estimating in our Kindergarten classroom and to check on their understanding I will call children one at a time to work with me. I place 10 plastic teddy bears in my hands, show the child the 10 teddy bears, and then quickly close my hands around the 10 teddy bears. Now I ask the child, to estimate how many bears are in my hands? I remind them that when estimating we try to be accurate in our answers. The answers always vary but the children who are thinking and really estimating say 8, 9, or even 10. A child who does not yet have a fully developed concept of number sense simply guesses. 100, 55, 37. This child has a way to go with estimating. To be able to start to think along the correct lines, the child must realize that only so many bears could possibly fit into my hands and that 100 is totally out of the question. I do this activity about once a month with my Kindergartners and slowly but surely the wild estimators are starting to come around and understand that only so many bears will fit into my hands. Try some estimating activities with your child; it is a great way to practice number sense in the real world. At home you estimate how many raisins are in a small snack sized box, how many m&m’s in a small bag, how many pieces of popcorn fit in your hand…the possibilities are endless but they all will help to get the brain thinking.
Estimation at Breakfast: