When we need to calculate something fast and it doesn't need to be precise, this is called estimation. We begin using this skill at an early age and continue to use it in everyday life for things like shopping, budgeting, approximating time and objects, and many others. Since the real-life application of estimation techniques is so valuable, we need activities to improve our students' knowledge in this area so they are prepared for any situation requiring an estimate. Here are 20 creative math activities perfect for kids and teens to learn the art of rounding.
1. Estimation Jars
This is a simple interactive estimation activity using items inside a clear jar, you can prepare ahead of time and bring them to class or leave them at home. Remember to count the candies or small objects you put in your jars before asking your students to guess.
Learn more: The Resourceful Mama
2. Math and Estimation Worksheets
Here is a link to some simple but effective estimation worksheets ranging in difficulty depending on the grade level of your students. First, the kids must estimate sums of items such as apples, or fish using their best guess. Then, they will calculate the actual answer using addition to check and see how close they were.
Learn more: Math Worksheets for Kids
3. Rainbow of Estimation
Another free educational resource you can download and laminate to play with your kids or students! First, you'll need to collect some small objects for easy counting and gather everyone around the board. Each player will take turns grabbing a handful of items and placing them in the middle. Everyone guesses how many are in the pile and then the first player counts them and the person that gets the closest moves ahead on the board.
Learn more: Teach Me Mommy
4. How Long Are My Feet?
Another creative and engaging activity for estimation practice you can do with young learners that's inspired by Dr. Seuss's The Foot Book. The point is for your students to use unique tools of measurement to describe the length of their shoes. First, they trace their shoes on colored paper, then they use classroom items like paper clips and legos to measure out their foot size.
Learn more: The Bubbly Blonde Teacher
5. Take-Home Estimation Jar
Here is a fun spin on the simple estimation jar activity in class. For this one, each student takes a turn bringing the jar home and filling it with acceptable items their classmates can estimate. This can be a weekly activity to see if students' exposure to estimation activities improves their guessing abilities over time.
Learn more: Teachers Pay Teachers
6. Interactive Rounding Board Game
Now here is a math activity that incorporates addition and subtraction with the concept of estimation and rounding to make it more interesting. Each card a player turns over will have a math equation. They must solve the problem and look for the rounded number on the board closest to the calculated number and fill it in.
Learn more: Learning with Mrs. Kirk
7. Estimation Station
Time to create an estimation station your kids can interact with and continue to improve this tricky skill. You can use any classroom objects you find and make them different colors and sizes for estimation practice.
Learn more: Proud to be Primary
8. Froot Loop Hands
Just like feet, hands are a great tool for kids to practice accurate estimation in a "hands-on" way! Have each student trace their hand on paper and cover it in froot loops. Then ask them to guess how many loops they think they used without counting and record, then have them count and see the difference between their estimation and the correct answer.
Learn more: Nati
9. Digital Activity with Estimation
We found an awesome math website that has tons of useful problem sets to tackle any difficult concept in math such as division, rounding, and of course, estimation. Your kids can use this digital math activity at home or you can open it during class for some group games and practice.
Learn more: Math Games
10. Water Bead Measuring Fun!
Water beads are an amazing teaching tool you can use to practice a variety of skills with sensory input as a bonus! Prepare your water beads and get a few different containers for measuring. Then have your students take turns filling different containers and estimating how many beads are in each.
Learn more: Teaching Everyday
11. Fun Estimation Card Game
This elementary estimation game is a mix of different math skills including addition and rounding. You can make your own deck of cards or use a standard pack. Each student takes turns picking two cards, adding them up, and recording the estimated solution.
Learn more: Amy Lemons
12. Water and Sand Jars
Almost any material can be measured in estimates, including volume. Pick up eight clear jars of the same size and fill four with different amounts of water and four with different amounts of sand. Write the amount for three of the jars and ask students to guess the amount in the mystery jar.
Learn more: PreKinders
13. Eraser Estimation
This fun estimation activity originally uses Christmas erasers, but you can use different mini erasers like animals, flowers, and vehicles, just make sure you have at least three different kinds. Put a different amount of each eraser in a clear container and have your students estimate how many of each eraser is in the jar.
Learn more: Life Over C's
14. Making Jewellery Using Estimation
Time for some arts and crafts with this fun bead-filled activity! There are multiple ways you can make an educated guess about how many beads you will need to make a bracelet or a necklace. Provide your students with some strategies for estimation during activities like this one such as using weight, area, and length.
Learn more: The Spruce Crafts
15. Penguins and Icebergs
A cute and simple way of practicing estimation skills they can translate to everyday life occurrences. Grab some penguin erasers or toys and cut out some pieces of white paper for the icebergs. Have your kids estimate how many penguins will fit on each iceberg.
Learn more: Inspiration Laboratories
16. Estimating Sums
If you are looking for a helpful resource to explain estimating sums to your kids, this is it! Use word problems to explain how you can round numbers to give relative estimations of different actions and when these sums are appropriate.
Learn more: Teachers Pay Teachers
17. Estimation Online Game
For remote or distance learning, here is another online resource your kids can use to practice estimating at home. This game has timed slides that show images of different objects briefly, then prompts students to guess the quantity before moving on.
Learn more: Kids Classrooms Secrets
18. Price Estimations
Of course, we use estimating in real life to calculate prices and see what is in our budget and what we cannot afford. Write an imaginary shopping list with items, and have your kids estimate how much they think each item will cost. Then either go to the store together or bring back a receipt and go over the amounts together.
Learn more: Seattle Pi
19. Draw and Fill
This interactive drawing game is one of my favorite estimation activities to do in the classroom. You can get super creative with what you draw on the whiteboard and what objects you use for measurement. For example, you draw a fat bunny and you have mini pencil sharpeners as fillers. How many will it take to fill the bunny's stomach?
Learn more: Seattle Pi
20. Estimation Monster!
Let's make math practice fun with this estimation practice visual game. Draw a face on the whiteboard and have students guess how many items are in a jar. They write their estimations on their post-it note and then the teacher write the actual amount in the mouth. Students place their post-its in or around the mouth depending on if they guessed above or below the accurate amount.
Learn more: First Grade Blue Skies