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Estimation Station

Many students in the United States do not have the necessary math skills for success in today’s world (Lago & DiPerna, 2010).  With technology so prominent in the workplace, employees must possess a higher skill level in mathematics.  Not only do we need to prepare for the mathematics in technological advances, but math oriented jobs tend to generate higher incomes.  For students to achieve mathematically, early learning of number sense is essential (Lago & DiPerna, 2010).  Number sense involves many different aspects of mathematics, of which estimation is one of the basic skills.   

Estimation can be a difficult concept to teach.  Students would rather find the exact answer to a problem or question rather than making an estimate.  It is a challenging task for young children developmentally.  John A. Van de Walle, a math education researcher, states that “Estimation is a higher-level skill that requires students to be able to conceptualize and mentally manipulate numbers” (Hoffman, 2011).  In estimating, students must complete extra work by analyzing the problem.  Students must ask questions and make decisions based on their knowledge and clues they receive. 

In this unit I define estimation, why it is an important concept to teach, and some strategies and techniques to use when teaching estimation to young children.  This unit includes 5 diverse lessons on estimation.  Lessons are intended for kindergarten students but can be adapted for older grades.  The lessons have a fall theme, but can be easily changed to match any theme.

Melissa Freeman

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