Each day for the past few weeks, a student in my class has been assigned a unit of measurement (for example, pounds). He or she chooses something for others to estimate (such as a filled backpack). In the morning, the student sets the item on our Estimation Station table and creates a record sheet. At the top of the page, he or she writes a question, such as "How many pounds does this backpack weigh?"
Students are allowed to visit the Estimation Station and write their answers on the sheet in the morning. When we return from lunch, the student in charge looks at the record sheet to establish the winner(s). Of course, we must then pull down the class prize box, and the winner gets to select a prize.
This year I've also added a Power Point presentation. As students are estimating, a corresponding word problem is displayed. Students must conceptualize, draw upon knowledge of measurement conversions, and practice multiple mathematical strategies.
After students have enough time to estimate, they answer by holding up their fingers (one finger for answer A, two fingers for answer B, and so on). I can immediately discern who understands and who does not. What an easy way to gather formative assessment data!
One strategy and solution are displayed. Then students are invited to discuss additional ways to approach the problem. To me, this is the most powerful part of the lesson. Learning to approach problems in different ways stimulates mathematical connections and deepens understanding.
Estimation Station is now available in my Teachers pay Teachers store! This five-week activity addresses the following Common Core State Standards:
- 4.MD.A.1 - know relative sizes of measurement units
- 4.MD.A.2 - solve measurement word problems
- 4.MD.A.3 - apply area and perimeter formulas
- 5.MD.A.1 - convert standard measures
- 5.MD.C.3 - recognize volume
- 5.MD.C.4 - measure volume
- 5.MD.C.5 - find volume with formula