The kids and I look forward to Fridays for the usual reasons, but in our class there is something else that makes Fridays extra fun...the Estimation Jar! I know at some point in your life you've all had to guess how many jelly beans were in a jar, and the closest estimate won a prize, right? Well that's all this is. It is a fun, simple way for your students to practice their estimation skills!
|This is my estimation jar (a regular size peanut butter jar). It's kind of small |
but it has sentimental value. :) I'd probably reccommend a largar jar.
Here is how it works in my classroom (and this is another idea I totally stole from my mentor teacher...thanks Mrs. Day!):
On Tuesday my MVP for the week (start student, VIP, whatever you want to call it) brings in items for the Estimation Jar. The parents don't tell their child how many items they've sent. I ask for the items on Tueday so that the MVP has a couple extra days in case he/she forgets. You could also keep an emergency bag of Estimation Jar items in case the MVP doesn't bring anything at all. I've had students bring gumballs, cereal, marbles, pasta, buttons...anything that can fit in the jar I have is game. I also give the parents a range; for example, please send 50 to 100 objects. That part is up to you, based on your students' age and ability levels.
On Friday I have the filled estimation jar, some dry erase boards, pencils, and sticky notes waiting on the table when the kids come in. They go to the table and each write their name and estimate on a sticky note. Then they put their sticky notes in the proper places on the dry erase boards. I have the boards divided into tens (see below).
Later in the day, we all sit in a circle on the carpet with the boards and jar in the middle. I keep the jar hidden in my lap and count the objects out by ones, twos, or fives. When we get a set of ten, we wrap a piece of yarn around it and we sing our song (the kids' favorite part!):
Bundle, bundle, bundle
We made a set of 10
We put a string around it
And then we start again! HEY!
While we sing, we pat our knees, criss-crossing our arms. On the "Hey!" part, we throw our hands in the air.
We keep counting and every time we make a new set of ten we sing our song. I let the MVP decide what we're going to yell at the end, so it's not always "HEY!" They love coming up with silly things...chicken! hiya! ooga booga!
(And those who are trying to suck up usually say LSU!
or Geaux Tigers! ~That's pronounced "go" for you non-southerners.~)
As we count, we remove from the boards the sticky notes that don't make sense based on how many we've counted so far and how many are left in the jar. Every so often I give them a quick glance at what's left in the jar--just a flash, not long enough for them to actually count. In the end, the two students whose estimates are closest to the actual number get a prize (a TEAM ticket in my case, but you can give candy, a pencil...whatever would fit with your reward system.)
Here is the note I send home to parents in my MVP packet (again, courtesy of Mrs. Day).
Feel free to use it:
Bring in something for our estimation jar, such as popsicle sticks, dry pasta, beans, rocks, bottle caps, etc. The items need to be the same size! Please send in no less than _________ and no more than _________. Please do not tell your child the amount you are sending!
The Estimation Jar is a fun way to practice a valuable math skill and to add a little excitement to our Friday. By the end of the year, the kids are Estimation Experts!