Friday, January 30, 2009

Estimation Station

During my one-year stint as a second grade teacher several years ago, one of the students' favorite things was the Estimation Jar. One student would bring the jar in full of goodies: M&Ms, Skittles, marshmallows. Inevitably some would bring the jar stuffed with less popular items like paperclips or cotton balls...probably at the prompting of a sugar-conscious mama. On Day 1 of our estimation game, each student would submit their guess on the quantity of items in the jar. The estimates would be posted in a visible place so as to build anticipation for the next day. On Day 2, I would reach in and grab a handful of whatever was in the jar. We would count just that handful and then return it to the jar. After seeing a partial count, students were permitted to revise their estimate. Finally, we would count the items...and then devour the contents (unless of course we were stuck with paperclips or cotton balls). Whoever had the closest estimate got to take the jar home to fill for the next week.

Motivated by an online math class I'm taking to maintain my teaching certificate, I decided to bring the Estimation Jar into our house. It's not quite as fun since the jar doesn't actually go home with someone who gets to surprise the class with the special contents. However, the kids were quite intrigued this morning when they came to breakfast to find a jar full of M&Ms sharing the table. And it became, of course, the first task on our school schedule for today.

There was a pretty wide range of guesstimates: 65, 99, and 250. My favorite was the Princess's guess, though. I said, "Audrey, how many M&Ms do you think are in the jar?"

"Ummm...a bunch!"

Well said. I think she may have a chance at winning this one.


CrossView said...

What a fun idea! The only way I could make this work here would be to get Guy involved. Otherwise, the 12-yr old would say; "Um. Who cares? Can't we just count it and eat as we go." *blink, blink*

You've inspired me! ;o)

Annie H. said...

excellent idea, but I'm not surprised. you seem so great at this homeschool thing. I'm inspired too!

dclouser said...

I used to do this in First Grade. The kids love it and hopefully are learning some estimation skills as well. That Audrey should be pretty smart learning along with the others! Good thing she finds school so entertaining, huh?

Courtney said...

I like this! And, a great motivational tool!

4 Lettre Words said...

This is SO great! Love the idea and really think Sam would love to "play" along!!

Mitzi said...

I read earlier where you were grinding your own wheat. I'll give you a "Go girl!" for that. I have other friends who are wheat grinders. Maybe one day for me!