Estimating with First and Second Grade

In my combined first and second grade since there weren’t any estimating activities in our math text, for some days at a time estimating was presented as a puzzle to the class. There was a bottle of objects, such as kidney beans, macaroni, buttons, or paper clips to estimate, followed each day with different contents. For a while, the same-sized bottle was used, but as time went on, various sizes were used. Each morning, children would write down their estimate, and later in the morning, some children would count the contents. They would put all in piles of 10s, then combine to make piles of 100s until  the exact number was announced to all. We brainstormed to see what successful methods could be used to get better estimates. Children seemed to enjoy this activity and certainly did improve in their ability.

Learn more about math and additional activities in my book, Early Childhood Programs: Opportunities for Academic, Cognitive, and Personal Success. Included is a web site where described programs and activities can be downloaded for use in a classroom. Also, see 7 reviews on


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