Mission 34: Best estimate
Ideas
•
Counting is exact but estimating is not. Young children find the idea of estimation quite difficult as they are often
expected to give exact amounts when dealing with numbers. The idea of approximate amounts will be helped if
you can use them when possible - e.g. It will take about 10 minutes, pass me 3 or 4 of those carrots, fill it about
half way up and so on.
•
Play an estimating game where you show a group of things for a short while before hiding them again and ask
your child roughly how many they think there were. Start with smaller numbers of things and then build up. Let
them count the exact number afterwards if they want, but if they do, don’t make them feel they are wrong if they
didn’t estimate the exact number. Say something like ‘That was a close guess’ or, if they differed by quite a lot,
ask ‘Was it more than you thought or fewer?’ and then let them have another guess at a number that is almost
the same to see if they get closer.
•
Use small objects to make two or three groups containing different numbers. Ask your child to point to the one
they think contains a certain number. Let them check by counting. Start with groups that are quite different and
where one of the groups contains the number you are going to call. Gradually make the differences between the
groups less obvious and maybe don’t have any group with the exact number. If you do that, you can talk about
how close each group is to the number to help with the idea that numbers can be varying degrees of closeness to
a given number.
•
Use the Counter Machine with the sound number turned off to put a number of counters on screen. Estimate how
many there are, and count to check.
•
Use the Counting Hand game and estimate the numbers of items in the pictures, then count to check.
•
Estimate how many steps it will take to get from one place in the house to another, then check.
•
Estimate how many cars or other things can be seen, then check.
Agents help the builder and others make quick decisions about approximate numbers.
Focus: This mission focuses on estimation.
Vocabulary: estimate, about, around, exact, exactly