Estimation: A Quick and Easy Tip

Hey everyone!  This is going to be a really quick post, but I wanted to share a super easy teaching strategy/tip with you.  I first shared this idea on Instagram and it was a hit, but I know that not everyone is on Instagram, and I don't want you to miss out!

The activity pictured is from Amy Lemons I Can Measure unit.

Do you see the crayon writing?  That's the strategy I'm about to share.  Keep reading!

Lately, we've been estimating prior to measuring objects in inches and/or centimeters.  Regardless of the purpose for estimating, whenever my students make an estimation, I have them do so with a crayon.  Things are always more fun when a crayon is involved, right?

This activity is from my Measure and Plot unit.

I learned pretty quickly that younger students have a tendency to go back and erase their estimations once they realize they are "wrong."  By using the crayon, they are reminded that their guess is not to be changed to match the actual answer.

To help my kiddos feel more at ease with their estimations, we spend a great deal of time talking about making reasonable estimations.  We also talk about how it's OK if our guess is wrong, the fun is in trying to get as close to the actual answer as possible.

This strategy also helps them to focus on the task of estimating.  Instead of quickly writing "any old number" they tend to take their time.  I see (and hear) them thinking out loud.  They look at things from multiple angles.  Knowing that they can't erase or change the number, they tend to take their time and think about/reason more carefully prior to writing anything down.  To me, that is the best part of this strategy...they are thinking!

I hope you found today's quick tip to be somewhat useful!  Maybe you can use it the next time your students practice the skill of estimating!

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  1. This is a great idea! I will use it in my classroom for sure. Thankas

  2. Such a great and easy idea! It can be used for all sorts of estimating skills - estimating sum, product, etc. You could also use for making predictions in reading as well. Little guys aren't the only ones who want to erase their pre-thinking! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Pure genius! Kids just have this thing about wanting to always get it right! I am going to try this for other "guessing" activities like mind reader with the word wall that we do in the classroom as well. Thanks for sharing this great tip! :)

    Creative Lesson Cafe

  4. Love it, second graders ALWAYS want to be right, no matter what.


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