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Challenges with Estimation By Caroline Simons

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Estimation… By grades 4 and 5, students should be able to select the appropriate methods and apply them accurately to estimate products and calculate them mentally depending on the context and numbers involved. (pg 138 of our book). However, many students are not able to grasp the full concept of estimation due to earlier issues with problem solving, simple math, etc. Therefore, many students feel that estimation is challenging.

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What is Estimation? The best guess arrived at after considering all the information given in a problem. Computational estimation is the process of finding an approximate answer- an estimate- to a computation.

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Theme: Challenges Students don’t understand or need practice with basic number concepts: adding, subtracting, place value, etc. Relation of numbers to other numbers and relationship to zero. Students don’t understand what fractions like 2/3 or ¾ mean or represent: size of fraction in relation to zero. Over or underestimation. Percents (older students). Students do not interact or get actively involved in activities involving comparison and estimation. Estimation can be deemed a very difficult task for students so some students may feel very uncomfortable with asking questions and practicing estimation. Students get upset at the fact they have to pick strategies to compute estimation and it can become daunting. Also the reason for the choice of one strategy over another may not be very clear to the student.

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How to Help Students: Estimation is like problem solving for students- it requires a variety of skills and is developed and IMPROVED over a long period of time. For estimation to be effectively developed, it must be nurtured and encouraged throughout the study of mathematics for a student. Children need numerous opportunities to practice estimation and to learn from their experiences. This helps students feel comfortable! For teachers this means providing students with the best strategies to learn the basic concepts so they can be able to develop estimation strategies in the future. One method that has seemed to work well with improving the concept of estimation and elementary students is compare and contrast.

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How Accurately Can You Estimate? #3- To make this problem easier, I said that winter coats were $30 and then multiplied them by 4 to get $120. #4- I did the same here as I did with #3. I estimated each sewing machine to be about $300 then multiplied by 8 to get $2,400. #5 asks you to explain your strategy for estimating these problems. I overestimated #4. I know this worksheet may seem simple to you but this is the type of estimation problems that elementary students are having issues computing.

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Estimation is IMPORTANT! Estimation is crucial to a student’s life and an adult’s life as well. Basic estimation is used everyday socially and academically. It is important that students start early and learn basic math concepts in order to develop good estimation strategies for themselves!

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WEBSITES FOR HELP: http://www.shodor.org/interactivate/lessons/ EstimationElem/ http://www.shodor.org/interactivate/lessons/ EstimationElem/ http://www.proteacher.com/100009.shtml http://www.cobbk12.org/sites/literacy/math/ math2.htm http://www.cobbk12.org/sites/literacy/math/ math2.htm

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QuEsTiOnS ??

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